Remembering the Life and Legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver

We were saddened to read of the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. A person who was deeply devoted to charity work throughout her life, she is perhaps best remembered as the founder of the Special Olympics. Shriver—whose sister, Rosemary Kennedy, was mentally disabled—established the Special Olympics during a time when mentally retarded persons were kept out of the public eye, creating a forum where they could not only demonstrate their athletic ability, but would have a crowd of supporters to cheer them on. Since its 1968 debut, the Special Olympics has grown into a worldwide nonprofit organization. In 1984, Shriver was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work. Earlier this year, her legacy was again honored by way of a portrait by David Lenz, which is currently on view at the National Portrait Gallery. Shriver is survived by her husband, Sargent, their five children and 19 grandchildren.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver by David Lenz; 2009; National Portrait Gallery; Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery as part of the First Prize, Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2006

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