Monday, December 19, 2011


December 19, 1961


Palm Beach, Florida (JFK+50) Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., father of President John F. Kennedy, suffered a massive stroke here in Palm Beach today.

The elder Kennedy was rushed to St. Mary's Hospital where the stroke was diagnosed.

The 73 year old former Ambassador to the Court of St. James was on the golf course at the time he had the stroke.*

*The stroke left Joe Sr. paralyzed on the right side of his body & limited his speech to the single long, drawn out word "Nooooooooo".  By all indications, however, he remained mentally alert.**

**"Joseph Kennedy spent the 8 years until his death inside an eerie deep freeze sometimes broken by rages, while his sons triumphed...& died by violence."


"Ambassador In Spite of Himself" 
  by Thomas Mallen, 
  December 31, 2000
"New York times On the Web".***

                   Joe Sr.'s Birthday
                       Hyannis Port
                  September 7, 1963
      Photo by Cecil W. Stoughton
                 JFK Library Photo

***Joe Sr died in Hyannis Port on November 9, 1969 at the age of 81

"From the beginning, Joe knew what he wanted--money & status for his family.  He had the progenitor's sense; to him, his children were an extension of himself.  Therefore, what he did, he did with them always in mind."


"Joseph P. Kennedy: A Portrait of the Founder (Fortune Classics, 1963),
  by Richard J. Whalan,
 "CNN Money".****

****I had an intern from Morristown, Tennessee who had a neighbor who was visiting St. Mary's Hospital on one of the occasions when President Kennedy came to see his Dad.

The lady was outside the door of the hospital when JFK walked out.  She asked him if she could take a photo with her camera.  

JFK graciously agreed & she made the picture.

Unfortunately, she later realized that there was no film in the camera.

So, the next day she went back to the hospital with film in her camera & once again was at the door when JFK emerged.

She asked to take another picture & JFK agreed.

My intern made a copy of that photograph for me.  Here it is!

              JFK at St. Mary's Hospital
                    Palm Beach, Florida 
                          December 1961

The photograph is much better than this version taken with a digital camera.

When I 1st saw it, I was impressed by the fact that it looks like a photograph any person would have taken in the early 1960s of one of their relatives.  

It's non-professional look, I think, makes it unique.

I also feel that it is pretty special that JFK, despite his concerns about his father & the weight of the Presidency on his shoulders, would be so gracious to pose for the photo not once, but twice in two days.*****

*****This story appeared on JFK+50 last year on December 19.