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Bill Clinton Honors Late Jean Kennedy, Who Was the Last Surviving Sister of JFK

Odette Odendaal
Jun 30, 2020
08:00 A.M.

Bill Clinton became well-acquainted with Jean Kennedy when they worked together, and he recalled how dedicated she was in her "pursuit of peace" during her life that recently ended at the age of 92.


On Thursday, a virtual memorial was held for Jean Kennedy Smith due to social distancing regulations, and Bill Clinton spoke a few kind words in her honor.

She was the second-youngest of the Kennedy siblings, and she served as the US ambassador to Ireland under former president Bill Clinton - who recalled taking "a leap of faith" when he appointed her back in 1993.

Bill Clinton attends the 'Life Ball 2013 - Show' on May 25, 2013, in Vienna, Austria. | Source: Getty Images.

Bill Clinton attends the 'Life Ball 2013 - Show' on May 25, 2013, in Vienna, Austria. | Source: Getty Images.


When Jean stepped into the role of ambassador to Ireland at the age of 65, it came at a time of great unrest. Religious discord caused the death of over 3,000 people, and she reportedly went on to play a significant role in the Northern Ireland peace talks that followed.


Former Irish politician Gerry Adams, former US Senator Chris Dodd, and members of the Kennedy family all joined in on the memorial service during which Clinton said:

"What I didn't know then that I later came to appreciate most, was just how dogged she would be in the pursuit of peace."



Jean passed away in her Manhattan apartment on June 17, and she was the youngest daughter between nine siblings, some of whom became famous as senators and as the 35th president of the United States.

John F. Kennedy became the leader of the American people, while his brothers Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy became senators.



While Jean outlived all her siblings, her one daughter, Kym Smith, told PEOPLE that she "lived an amazing life." Kym said that her mom had a "kind heart" and generosity was evident by the things she did to empower those in need, like when she founded the Very Special Arts project back in 1974.


Today the project is simply known as VSA or The Kennedy Center's Office of VSA, and its goal is to "provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and increase access to the arts for all." In 2011, Jean's pursuit of a better world earned her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


Sadly, the Kennedy family lost another two members earlier this year, when Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her son Gideon accidentally drowned early in April.

Maeve and her husband along with their children had been spending time at the family's home in the Chesapeake Bay area, and in an attempt to retrieve a ball that had landed in the water, the mother-and-son duo got swept out into the greater bay area when winds picked up before they drowned.

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