- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 8, 2005

Rosemary Kennedy, a sister of President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy who was born mentally retarded and lived most of her life in an institution after undergoing a lobotomy, died yesterday, her family said. She was 86.

She died with her brother and her sisters by her side, the family said.

“Rosemary was a lifelong jewel to every member of our family,” the family said. “From her earliest years, her mental retardation was a continuing inspiration to each of us and a powerful source of our family’s commitment to do all we can to help all persons with disabilities live full and productive lives.

“We know our parents and our brothers and sister who have gone before us are welcoming her joyfully home to heaven,” the family said.

Rosemary’s condition became an inspiration to her younger sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who became an activist in the field of mental retardation. Mrs. Shriver later founded the Special Olympics for mentally disabled athletes, and in 1984 she took over her sister’s care after their mother had a stroke.

Born Rose Marie Kennedy on Sept. 13, 1918, in Boston, she was known as Rosemary or Rosie to friends and family. Her retardation may have stemmed from brain damage at birth.

The senator and sisters Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Jean Kennedy Smith and Patricia Kennedy Lawford are the surviving siblings of the original nine Kennedy children.

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