Wednesday, August 10, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 2035


Brookline, Massachsetts (JFK+50) The infant son of President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, was laid to rest here at Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline fifty-three years ago today, August 10, 1963.

Patrick, who was born five and a half weeks premature three days earlier, died in the early morning hours of August 9, only 39 hours after birth.  The Kennedy baby died as a result of complications of hyaline membrane disease which was common in premature births.  25,000 babies died every year from the disease.

According to Dr. Lawrence K. Altman, however, if Baby Patrick had been born in 2013, his chances of survival, because of improvements in medical care for premature babies, would have been 95%.

Baby Patrick, who was born at Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod, weighed 4 pounds 10 1/2 ounces at birth.

The funeral mass, celebrated by Richard Cardinal Cushing, archbishop of Boston, at his residence, was attended only by members of the immediate Kennedy family.

According to David Powers, the President put a gold Saint Christopher's Medalwhich had been a present given to him by Jacqueline, inside the casket.

At graveside, President Kennedy "tightly gripped" Patrick's small white coffin.
Kenny O'Donnell and Dave Powers wrote...

"The loss of Patrick affected the President and Jackie more deeply than anybody except their closest friends realized."

A couple of months later, JFK left the Harvard-Columbia football game at halftime to visit Patrick's grave.  The President asked Kenny and Dave to make sure he wasn't followed by the press.

Standing in the cemetery, looking down at the headstone marked KENNEDY, JFK said to Dave and Kenny...

"He seems so alone here."

Patrick Bouvier Kennedy's remains are now alongside his parents at Arlington National Cemetery.  


"A Kennedy Baby's Life and Death," by Lawrence K. Altman, M.D., The New York Times, July 29, 2013,

"Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye:  Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy," by Kenneth P. O'Donnell and David F. Powers, Little Brown and Company, Boston, 1970, 1972.

Grave of Patrick Bouvier Kennedy
Arlington National Cemetery
Photo by John White (2016)