Jean Kennedy Smith, John F. Kennedy’s Last Surviving Sibling, Has Died

The Obama White House / YouTube

Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy raised nine children, five daughters and four sons. The youngest of their daughters was Jean, who would go on to outlive all eight of her siblings.

  • Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. died in action during World War II in 1944.
  • John F. Kennedy, who served as the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated in 1963.
  • Rose Marie “Rosemary” Kennedy died in 2005.
  • Kathleen Agnes “Kick” Kennedy Cavendish died in a plane crash in 1948.
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver died in 2009.
  • Patricia Kennedy Lawford died in 2006.
  • Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy, who served as U.S. Attorney General from 1961-1964 and was a U.S. Senator, was assassinated in 1968.
  • Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy, who served as a U.S. Senator from 1962-2009, died in 2009.

Like her siblings, Jean was actively involved in public and political life. She never ran for office herself, but campaigned for her brothers. She even accompanied JFK on his presidential campaign when his wife, Jacqueline, was traveling.

Years later, President Bill Clinton named Jean as the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. With the Kennedy family having strong Irish Catholic roots, President Clinton felt she was “as Irish as an American can be.” Jean served as the Ambassador to Ireland from 1993-1998.

In 1974, Jean founded the international non-profit Very Special Arts, whose mission is to help people with disabilities get involved in the arts. Her work with VSA was recognized by President Barrack Obama when he awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

Jean was also a mother and wife. She married Stephen Edward Smith in 1956 and they had two sons: Stephen Edward Smith Jr. and William Kennedy Smith. They also adopted two daughters: Amanda Smith and Kym Smith.

It was Kym who confirmed the sad news with The New York Times that her mother passed away at her home in Manhattan on Wednesday, June 17. Jean, the last surviving of the nine Kennedy children, passed away at the age of 92.

Our hearts go out to the Kennedy and Smith families during this sad time. May Jean rest in peace.