Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
Born: July 22, 1890
Birthplace: Boston, Mass.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy was the oldest of six children born to Josephine Hannon and John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, a colorful and corrupt Boston politician. She attended the New England Conservatory, where she polished her skills as a pianist, and went on to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Boston, Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., and finally a Catholic finishing school in the Netherlands. Not content with society teas, Rose organized groups to discuss current affairs and taught catechism in Boston's slums. She married young bank president Joseph Kennedy in 1914 and then devoted herself to raising her family of nine children: Joseph, John Fitzgerald, Rosemary, Kathleen, Eunice, Patricia, Robert, Jean, and Edward.
Her husband was appointed ambassador to Great Britain in 1937 and she threw herself wholeheartedly into the life of the Court of St. James until the outbreak of World War II, when Joseph resigned his post. The so-called “Kennedy curse” started when daughter Rosemary was institutionalized following a lobotomy, Joe, Jr., was killed during the war, and Kathleen died in a plane crash in 1948. The triumph of John's election to the presidency would be followed a few short years later by his assassination, and then that of his younger brother, Robert in 1968. Rose's husband suffered a stroke in 1961 and died in 1969. A devout Catholic, she attended daily Mass until her nineties. She gave her time to Catholic causes and mental retardation charities. A stroke in 1984 left her confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She died in 1995, aged 104.Died: 1995