Young, charming, irresistible: Jack Kennedy
The designer who married into the famous political family hung herself in May 2012 in the garage of her New York home.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The last time anyone saw Mary Kennedy alive was a year ago Wednesday. The following day a friend found the stylish but troubled designer who married into the famed political dynasty at the end of a rope in the garage at her Bedford, N.Y., estate. It was a fall from grace as stunning — and public — as it comes.
A year after her death, a sense of sorrow pervades the memories of those who knew her. A messy legal resolution to her estate is still dragging on. Many are still mystified at the confounding end to a life of privilege and accomplishment, how it unraveled amid the splendor of a million-dollar home of her own design, while attached to one of America’s most famous names.
She was the mother of four and wife of Robert Kennedy Jr., a prominent environmentalist and legal scholar.
“She was one of the most positive people I’ve ever known — so much positive energy,” recalled Andy MacDavid, an old friend. “It’s still hard to believe it would end like that.”
MacDavid, a teacher who lives in the northwestern corner of Connecticut, became friends with Mary Kennedy after working together on political campaigns and at a nonprofit organization.
He recalled the “calm, peaceful and loving voice” that she had.
“I wonder what kind of support Mary had, or maybe didn’t have,” he said. “I pray that she now has sweet dreams forever.”
Her final days, however, were like a bad dream. Trouble came to the Bedford home in a big way toward the end of her life at the age of 52 — police visits for domestic disturbances, a drunken-driving charge, divorce proceedings initiated by Robert Kennedy Jr. after 16 years of marriage. After her death, family members and friends spoke of mental illness and severe depression that corroded every corner of her life. And there was the burden of high expectations.
“It’s very hard being a Kennedy, either being a blood Kennedy or being married to one,” noted an authority on the Kennedy family, Laurence Leamer.
Because Mary Kennedy didn’t have a will when she hanged herself, her financial affairs still remain open.
The Westchester Surrogate Court appointed White Plains attorney Faith Miller as a co-administrator of her estate with Conor Kennedy, her oldest son and a student at Deerfield Academy.
“The estate has not been settled,” Miller said. “It’s still going through the courts, unfortunately. All I can say is, we don’t have full disclosure from the Richardsons as to Mary’s share of those assets,” she said, referring to Mary Kennedy’s birth family and a trust it established.
Miller, who knew Kennedy from the divorce proceedings that began before her death, said she thought highly of her.
“I hope people remember her kindly. She was a lovely, beautiful woman who adored her children. And she had her demons. She was really an extraordinary woman,” Miller said.
Calls to her sister, Nan Richardson, were not returned. Messages left at Robert Kennedy’s office at Pace University Law School were not answered.
“Mary’s siblings continue to grieve for the untimely and unnecessary death of their beloved sister Mary and remain grateful for the tremendous outpouring of love, comfort, and support from around the world,” Kerry Lawrence, Mary Kennedy’s lawyer, wrote in an email. The email went on to say, “Although the last few years of her life were marred by punishing circumstances, it is the preceding decades of a life lived thoughtfully, intelligently, soberly, and with great generosity that are remembered and celebrated by all those who loved her.”
At her old prep school, The Putney School in Vermont, Mary Kennedy is being memorialized by a scholarship in her name. It will go to students who help “change the world for good and beauty.” Her classmates at the school compiled memories of her kindness to friends and poured out words like “brilliant, beautiful, thoughtful and funny” in an online alumni bulletin.
Wrote one former classmate, John Wender, “Over and over these words have been used to describe Mary, and as true as they are, words can only approximate who Mary really was, and how deeply she will be missed by those lucky enough to have known her.”
(Source: USA Today)
Kathleen ‘Kick’ Kennedy: February 20, 1920 - May 13, 1948
By Deborah Devonshire - The Spectator - June 3, 2006
1938 was a vintage year for beautiful girls. Hollywood would have nabbed many of them: June Chapel,Clarissa Churchill,Pat Douglas, Veronica Fraser,Jane Kenyan-Slaney,Sylvia Muir,Sissy Lloyd Thomas,Elizabeth Scott or Gina Wernher.
Our lives were ruled by invitations, lists of girls and young men trying to keep up with clean white kid gloves,including elbow length ones for the evening which gave such stye to the wearer,and shoes which suffered from being danced in all night long. I longed for another evening dress (home-made by our retired house keeper for 240 pennies a time),and some of the girls had enviable clothes from Victor Steibel,while their mothers were dressed by Molyneux or Norman Hartwell. Hats came from Madam Rita in Berkley Square;we wore silk stockings in London and lisle in the country; and all the extras which seemed essential then.
It was the beginning of that 1938 season that the new US Ambassador to the Court of St. James arrived with much friendly publicity. Joseph P. Kennedy, his wife and nine children were warmly welcomed to London. Such a crowd of good-looking boys and girls had never been seen before among diplomats and they made an impact which was never forgotten.
The fourth of the nine was 18 year-old Kathleen, called Kick. Her initiation into the English season was to spend the weekend at Cliveden, where the American Nancy Astor was the most famous hostess in the country. The Astors had four sons. The two youngest, Michael and Jakey, inherited their mother’s brilliant talent to amuse and were the best company for any girls lucky enough to be invited to that Thames-side palace. Kick was understandably nervous when she arrived among the typical Cliveden mixture of young and old politicians and religious leaders from all over the world, the Astor boys poking fun at pompous guests as only they knew how. She emerged with flying colours, having charmed the lot of them.
Kick fell happily into this frenzied activity and became the centre of attention. She was not strictly beautiful but differed from the English girls in her infectious spirits,lack of shyness,ability to play games as well as to talk politics with the older generation. Above all her shining niceness came through. Because of her charm and lack of cattiness none of us natives resented her, in spite of her success with the young men,who were fascinated by the American phenomenon. She had the advantage of having two older brothers, Joe Jr and Jack,who could take her around with her mother’s consent.
The golden trio: Joe Jr, Kick and Jack Kennedy
The Kennedys lived in Princes Gate, around the corner from my father’s house in Rutland Gate. There was much coming and going between the houses in company with Billy Hartington,Dawyck Haig, Andrew Cavendish,Hugh Fraser,David Ormsby-Gore,William Douglas Home, Charlie Lansdowne and his brother Ned Fitzmaurice,the Astor boys,Charles Granby,Mark Howard,Robert and Dicky Cecil and various Woods and Stanleys- all undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge.
Joe Kennedy Jr was handsome and dashing, but he preferred more sophisticated women to us 18-years olds. Jack already had something about him that separated him from the crowd. He was very thin, the legacy of serious illnesses, but he put everything into the moment, which was in 1938 to enjoy himself. My mother,watching him at a dance and impressed by what she saw, said to my future husband Andrew, who never forgot it,’ I wouldn’t be surprised if that young man became President of the United States.’
A year later came the war and the frivolities of living for pleasure ended with a bang, and we all went our separate ways. Kick and her family returned to the States, but she had made lifelong friends in London and was soon back wearing American Red Cross uniform.
Billy Hartington had been one of her crowd of suitors for some time.He eventually won the prize against all comers and after what seemed like endless negotiations over her Catholic and his avowed Protestant a compromise was reached about any children they might have. They were married in London on 6 May 1944. The fervently Catholic Rose Kennedy found it hard to forgive Kick for what she saw as a deviation from religious resolve,and I believe the relationship between mother and daughter was never the same again.
The double tragedy that was to follow is well known. The Hartington’s only spent five weeks together before Billy’s battalion was ordered to France. On 10 September he was killed by a sniper’s bullet.
After four years of widowhood, the 28-year old Kick fell in love with Peter Fitzwilliam, another one of those irresistibly attractive men who loved her. They were planning to marry and were on their way to the south of France in a small chartered plane when it crashed in a storm over the Alps and all on board were killed. So a life of such promise was extinguished. Kick is buried in the churchyard at Edensor, by Chatsworth Park. On her headstone is engraved, ‘Joy she gave. Joy she has found.’
To all of us that had known and loved her it was impossible to believe that she was dead as it was fifteen years later Jack had been assassinated. The sheer vitality of brother and sister made us think them immortal. Alas,they are not.
British Prince Harry lays a wreath at the memorial of President John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery. This November marks 50 years since his assassination
“Her love for Caroline and John was deep and unqualified. She reveled in their accomplishments, she hurt with their sorrows. At the mere mention of one of their names, Jackie’s eyes would shine brighter and her smile would grow bigger.”
From his piece in Sports Illustrated:
“I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I’d been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, “Me, too.”
“The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully? When I told Joe a few weeks ago that I was gay, he was grateful that I trusted him. He asked me to join him in 2013. We’ll be marching on June 8.”
Interested in marching with Joe and Jason Collins in the Boston Pride Parade on June 8? Email email@example.com to sign up!
By Aaron Pressman
BOSTON (Reuters) - Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffrds received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award on Sunday, asking the U.S Congress to act more courageously on the issue of gun control.
“We all have courage inside,” Giffords, who herself survived being shot in 2011, said at the Kennedy Library in Boston. “I wish there was more courage in Congress. Sometimes it’s hard to express it.”
The remarks come just a few weeks after the U.S Senate voted down a measure to expandbackground checks for gun buyers, a step favored by U.S. President Barack Obama and most Americans.
An online Reuters/Ipsos poll released in January showed that 86 percent of those surveyed favored expanded background checks of all gun buyers.
Giffords, a Democrat, was shot in the head when a gunman opened fire on a congressional outreach event in Tucson in January 2011, killing six people and wounding a dozen others. She resigned from Congress a year after the shooting to focus on her recovery.
Following the attack in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 26 people at an elementary school in December, Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, founded a lobby group aimed at curbing gun violence and challenging the political clout of the well-funded gun lobby.
Before the awards ceremony on Sunday, Giffords and Kelly visited victims of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing who are recovering at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
The award, named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Profiles in Courage,” was presented to Giffords by foundation president Caroline Kennedy.
Remembering Michael Kennedy (1958-1997)
In his memoir ‘True Compass’ Ted Kennedy mentioned a moment when he was sitting next to Bobby and Ethel’s fourth son in the car and when he looked to him the shadow just fell over his face and for one second he thought it was Bobby..
Bobby and Ethel: Unconditional love..
(I got these photos from the amazing Ethel Kennedy documentary that can finally be watched on the internet)
Young Bobby Kennedy
By Conor Kennedy: Clean oceans and clean energy advocate
Mark Zuckerberg has not yet issued any response to public criticism that his political action group, FWD.us, is funding advertisements supporting construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Gulf of Mexico. FWD.us, co-founded by Zuckerberg with additional donations from a host of his fellow Silicon Valley superstars, has right-wing and left-wing subsidiaries working on parallel tracks to pass bipartisan immigration legislation. Those subsidiaries run advertisements for vulnerable Republicans and Democrats pledged to support that legislation. The ads generally don’t mention immigration reform — which is politically unpopular among conservatives — and some of them include ringing endorsements for Big Oil’s pet projects including Keystone XL. While immigration reform is an important cause, many Americans, particularly those of my generation, are uneasy with a strategy that seems to advocate sacrificing our planet’s future as an iffy wager for the bill’s passage.
Mr. Zuckerberg — a hero to many young people — has in the past been eloquent in his support for transitioning from fossil fuels to knowledge-powered and New Energy economies.
Now that his financial ties to the pro tar sands advertisements are public knowledge, many of us who want a brighter, cleaner future for America and who admire his other accomplishments hope Mr. Zuckerberg will disassociate himself from their dubious content. There are already enough billionaires advocating for Keystone XL and Big Oil’s other criminal enterprises. Anti-Keystone XL activists have written a million letters to President Obama. We have appeared, 40,000 strong, to demonstrate against Keystone in Washington, D.C. and we have engaged in peaceful civil disobedience by the thousands in locales from Texas to the White House gate. It’s disheartening to see all the billionaires, including leaders of our own generation, lined up against us.
It’s our great and only hope that President Obama will listen to the voice of democracy and — acting as a trustee for the future generations —- kill the pipeline. He promised in his rousing inaugural address, to make the battle to save the planet from climate chaos the centerpiece of his second administration. The Keystone decision is one of the few climate change issues solely under his control. To plug Keystone, President Obama needn’t genuflect to a Congress awash in democracy polluting oil money. He can do it while sitting alone in the Oval Office. We worry that President Obama, instead, will simply count the fat cats and weigh their furor — or their indifference — rather than reading his mail.
If Mr. Zuckerberg favors or is genuinely ambivalent about Keystone, here are seven reasons why he should reconsider:
1) The Keystone XL Pipeline will never be safe. Tar sands oil, sometimes known as bitumen, causes corrosion and the industry has not figured out how to stop it from bursting even the most state-of-the-art pipelines such as the first Keystone pipeline that leaked over a dozen times in its first year of operation. On March 31, an Exxon pipe carrying 95,000 barrels per day of Alberta tar sands oil from Illinois to Texas refineries burst and flooded a Mayflower, Arkansas, suburb beneath a river of heavy crude and lighter diluents, added by oil companies to move the gelatinous bitumen through the pipe. Arkansas taxpayers were shocked to learn that thanks to a loophole artfully created by the industry’s political allies, they — not the oil kingpins — will have to pay for much of the cleanup.
That same week, a Canadian company spilled 30,000 gallons of Alberta crude in Minnesota. In 2010, an Exxon pipeline in Michigan spewed a million gallons of Alberta dilbit into the Kalamazoo River, causing the worst and most expensive pipeline oil spill in U.S. history. Experts are still wondering how to restore the Kalamazoo. Clean-up crews who commonly use floating booms to remediate aquatic oil spills learned that tar sands oil doesn’t float! Instead, the toxic tar sands sludge permeated and sealed the Kalamazoo River bottom ravaging the foundation of its aquatic ecosystem.
In fact, even oil and gas companies shipping conventional oil, experience thousands of oil spills each year. In June, an Exxon pipe that runs parallel to the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline burst, spilled upwards of 42,000 barrels, at a crossing on the iconic Yellowstone River killing life in that blue ribbon trout fishery and national treasure for 25 miles.
Given the industry’s abysmal record, it’s safe to say that Keystone XL will experience a major spill and, due to its planned route, that spill will almost certainly contaminate the Ogallala aquifer, the sole water supply for millions of middle state Americans as well as the breadbasket of American agriculture and the ranching industry in seven states.
2) Keystone XL will not create significant American jobs. According to the State Department’s study, Keystone will provide only 35 full time jobs following the construction period. We could more beneficially create permanent jobs by incentivizing solar and wind development. Even with the current anemic federal incentives, solar and wind companies are creating each year, more new generation capacity than all the incumbents (oil, gas, coal and nuke) combined. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are already 93,000 jobs in solar and 85,000 in wind, and those numbers are growing exponentially.
3) Keystone XL will neither improve energy security nor lower gasoline prices.Virtually all of Keystone’s Alberta tar sands oil is destined for overseas markets. Canadian and mostly non-U.S. owned oil services companies, the Koch Brothers, and Asian plutocrats will profit from the pipeline but there will be little value to the U.S. in terms of security or lower oil prices. In fact, U.S. oil prices will actually increase as the result of Keystone as that pipeline relieves the current glut of the landlocked tar sands in the US Midwest and Canada. Top economist Philip Verleger estimates that the average cost of American gasoline could actually rise upward of 5¢-10¢ per gallon if Keystone is constructed. The Pipeline will therefore hurt the U.S. economy, not help it.
4) If we kill Keystone, the oil companies will not build a pipeline elsewhere in Canada. Contrary to what the oil industry claims, alternative pipelines elsewhere in Canada are not moving forward. Resistance among Canadians in British Columbia, especially salmon-dependent First Nations, is even greater than here in the United States.
5) Without Keystone, the oil companies cannot simply haul their tar sands out of Alberta by rail and truck. The $7 billion Keystone pipeline will transport 1.1 million barrels each day — far more than could be transported economically by rail and truck traffic. If we stop Keystone, we lock most of this carbon underground.
6) We don’t need oil-based fossil fuels while we ramp up clean energy alternatives.Renewables like solar and wind are proven and market-ready technologies. Their widespread deployment is only being impeded by multibillion dollar annual subsidies to oil, coal and gas. And a mixture of fuel efficiency standards, transit, smart growth and alternative fuels has U.S. use of oil on a downward slope. In any case, the Keystone XL Pipeline is not a stop-gap measure. Instead the pipeline will entrench our use of fossil fuels for generations.
7) Keystone XL will have a catastrophic impact on climate change. The amount of carbon in the tar sands is equivalent to all the carbon in all the oil ever removed from Saudi Arabia. Burning the vast oceans of oil beneath Saudi Arabia has gotten us where we are today; ice caps melting, glaciers retreating on every continent, water supplies drying up, continent wide droughts disrupting agriculture and global food supplies, acidified oceans and rising sea levels, and climate chaos flooding our greatest cities. According to a new study published last week by Oil Change International, “Cooking the Books: How the State Department Analysis Ignores the True Climate Impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline,” the pipeline will emit 181 million tons of carbon every year — the equivalent of 37.7 million cars or 51 new coal plants. There are 561 tons of carbon locked in Alberta’s tar sands, more than twice the amount, according to former Goddard scientist James Hansen, than all the oil and combustion have released in the history of mankind. We can double that sum by burning Alberta’s tar sands, but what genocidal politician or oilman, would want to do that to future generations? We could better solve our energy problems by scuttling the pipeline, cutting incentives to big oil, and leveling the playing field to let the cleaner, cheaper technology prevail in the free market.
Americans who want to stop Keystone XL Pipeline may outnumber those who favor the pipeline but we will never out-money them — particularly when Mr. Zuckerberg and his legions of 21st century technology moguls take the side of Big Oil’s 19th century robber barons. Without some disavowed, young clean energy advocates who regard Mr. Zuckerberg as an iconic leader of our generation are apt to view his investment in the opposition to be not only disheartening, but treacherous.
(Source: The Huffington Post)