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Sargent Shriver

(1915-2011)

Co-Founder of American First, 1st Director of the Peace Corps, Key figure in the creation and organization of the Special Olympics, Father of Maria Shriver, and Brother-in-Law to President Kennedy and Senators Robert and Ted Kennedy

Sargent Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenneger

Sargent Shriver

(1915-2011)

Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr. (November 9, 1915 – January 18, 2011) was an American politician and activist. Referred to as Sargent Shriver or just Sarge, he is best remembered as part of the Kennedy family and as the driving force behind the creation of the Peace Corps. He was also the Democratic Party's candidate for U.S. Vice President, replacing first nominee Thomas Eagleton, who resigned from the ticket, during the 1972 U.S. presidential election. Sargent Shriver died at the age of 95 on January 18, 2011.

Sargent Shriver's life is a testament to the belief that public service is a high calling for those wishing to serve their country. He entered the political sphere in 1940, founding the anti-war organization "America First," along with future President Gerald Ford, and future Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. Despite his belief that America should not enter the World War, he volunteered for the U.S. Navy out of a conviction that citizens must serve to protect the nation. He suffered shrapnel wounds at the Battle of Guadalcanal, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant.

After the war, he was chosen by Joseph Kennedy to manage Merchant Mart, a major department store in Chicago. In his service to the Kennedy financial empire, he became acquainted with Eunice Kennedy, who he married in 1953. In 1960, Sargent Shriver was a major player in the campaign of Eunice's brother, John Kennedy. During the Kennedy Administration, Shriver became the first Director of the Peace Corps. Under Kennedy's successor, President Johnson, Shriver became the first Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, where he oversaw the creation of VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), Head Start, Community Action, Foster Grandparents, Job Corps, Legal Services, Indian and Migrant Opportunities, and Neighborhood Health Services. Sargent and Eunice Shriver played a significant role in the creation and acceptance of the Special Olympics.

In 1968, Shriver became the U.S. Ambassador to France during a turbulent period in American foreign relations. He ran for Vice-President as George McGovern's running mate.

Shriver is perhaps best known in the 21st Century as the father of Maria Shriver and the father-in-law of former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger.

Shriver lost his beloved wife in 2009, and he lost his long battle with Alzheimer's on January 18, 2011.

 
Political Career/Connections

Party Affiliation: Democrat

1940: Co-Founded America First (anti-war organization), with Gerald Ford, Potter Stewart, and others (while at Yale)

1960: Ran Wisconsin and West Virginia primary campaigns for his brother-in-Law, John Kennedy, as he successfully ran for President.

1961-1966: Founded and ran the Peace Corps (under President Kennedy)

1964-1968: 1st Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity (under President Lyndon Johnson)

--Under President Johnson, Sargent Shriver founded VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), Head Start, Community Action, Foster Grandparents, Job Corps, Legal Services, Indian and Migrant Opportunities, and Neighborhood Health Services

1968-1970: U.S. Ambassador to France

1970: Ran for the office of Maryland Governor (lost)

1972: Ran for Vice-President as the running mate to George McGovern. They lost to the Nixon/Agnew ticket.

1976: Ran for the Democrtic Party's Presidential nomination (lost to Jimmy Carter).

1992: Joined several other prominent Democrats in signing a public letter to the New York Times, in protest of the Democratic Party's pro-abortion plank in the party's official platform. This occurred during Bill Clinton's first campaign for President.

 

 

Links and Resources:

Sargent Shriver (official website)

Special Olympics (official website)

Sargent Shriver-Wikipedia Article

Eunice Kennedy Shriver-Wikipedia article

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development--History and overview

R(obert) Sargent Shriver: Papers (#214)-An Inventory of His Personal Papers, 1948-1976 In the John F. Kennedy Library, National Archives and Records Administration

J.F.K. Would Have Defended Bishops' Right to Fight Abortion--Letter to the New York Times from Eunice Kennedy Shriver, May 13, 1990

The Silent Kennedy--New York Times, January 10, 2005

Eunice Kennedy Shriver's Olympic Legacy--NPR, April 5, 2007

Eunice Kennedy Shriver dies at 88--CNN, August 11, 2009

Eunice Kennedy Shriver's Faithful Service--by Sally Quinn, Washington Post, August 11, 2009

Obama calls Shriver 'an extraordinary woman'--Forbes.com, August 11, 2009

 

Copyright © 1998-2012 Roger A. Lee and History Guy Media; Last Modified: 10.21.12

"The History Guy" is a Registered Trademark.

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Family

Robert Sargent Shriver, Sr --Father

Sara Shriver --Mother

Eunice Kennedy Shriver --Wife (wed on May 23, 1953)

Notable Relatives

David Shriver--Ancestor who signed the Maryland Constitution and Bill of Rights at Maryland's Constitutional Convention of 1776

John Francis "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald--Grandfather-in-lawand Mayor of Boston

John Kennedy--Brother-in-Law and President of the United States

Robert Kennedy--Brother-in-Law and Attorney General of the United States, Senator, and Presidential Candidate

Edward "Ted" Kennedy--Brother-in-Law and Senator, and Presidential Candidate

Arnold Schwarzenneger--Son-in-Law and Governor of California

Children

Robert Sargent Shriver III (b. April 28, 1954)--Son

Maria Owings Shriver (b. November 6, 1955) --Daughter, Married to former Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger

Timothy Perry Shriver (August 29, 1959)--Son

Mark Kennedy Shriver (b. February 17, 1964) --Son

Anthony Paul Kennedy Shriver (b. July 20, 1965)--Son

Religion:

Roman Catholic

Education:

1938: BA, Yale University

1941: LL.B. , Yale Law School

Military Service:

1941-1945: United States Navy
Rank: Lieutenant

Battles/Wars: World War II

Awards:

--World War II Victory Medal

--Purple Heart for wounds at the Battle of Guadalcanal

--Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal

 

Career/Occupation: Attorney and Business Executive

1940s-1950s: Manager, Merchant Mart (large department store in Chicago. Part of Kennedy financial empire)

1971-1986: Lawyer and Partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson law firm (Washington, D.C)

1984: Appointed President of Special Olympics by the Board of Directors of that organization

1990: Appointed Chairman of the Board of Special Olympics

 

Political Career:

Party Affiliation: Democrat

 

Clubs and Organizations (membership):

--Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Phi chapter) at Yale

-- Scroll and Key Society, at Yale

Links and Resources on Sargent Shriver

Sargent Shriver (official website)

Special Olympics (official website)

Sargent Shriver-Wikipedia Article

Eunice Kennedy Shriver-Wikipedia article

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development--History and overview

R(obert) Sargent Shriver: Papers (#214)-An Inventory of His Personal Papers, 1948-1976 In the John F. Kennedy Library, National Archives and Records Administration

J.F.K. Would Have Defended Bishops' Right to Fight Abortion--Letter to the New York Times from Eunice Kennedy Shriver, May 13, 1990

The Silent Kennedy--New York Times, January 10, 2005

Eunice Kennedy Shriver's Olympic Legacy--NPR, April 5, 2007

Eunice Kennedy Shriver dies at 88--CNN, August 11, 2009

Eunice Kennedy Shriver's Faithful Service--by Sally Quinn, Washington Post, August 11, 2009

Obama calls Shriver 'an extraordinary woman'--Forbes.com, August 11, 2009

 

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Click Here for the Biography page on Sargent Shriver's Wife, Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Click Here for the Biography page on Sargetn Shriver's Brother-in-Law, Senator Ted Kennedy

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