Sargent Shriver– founder of the Peace Corps and Head Start, George McGovern’s VP in the 1972 elections, brother-in-law to President John F. Kennedy, and father of Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger– died today, Tuesday, January 18, 2011 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Shriver may be a footnote in history to many of you, but his memory will always occupy a warm place in my heart.
When I was journalism student at Ohio State University in 1972, my public affairs reporting class had the assignment of producing a special election day section for the Ohio State Lantern (the student newspaper, circulation 60,000). 1972 was the first year that 18-year-olds could vote, and the college vote was very important — especially to the Democrats, with George McGovern being the strong anti-war candidate.
Some students were assigned to Congressional or local races (even judgeships, groan), but Brigid O’Gara, another senior journalism student, and I were assigned to the McGovern-Shriver Campaign. We traveled around the state when the candidates were in Ohio and wrote stories about the campaign and our experiences. We learned a lot about reporting, presidential campaigns, and the national press corps– since we traveled on the bus with them.
But of all those experiences, I’ll never forget interviewing Shriver in the back of a limo in Cleveland. Here we were– two student journalists– but he was kind, effervescent, friendly, and forthright– never condescending to two cub reporters. He was a shining light.
Good-bye, Sargent Shriver. You were a great man.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann called Shriver “a foot soldier in President Johnson’s War on Poverty”– more on Shriver from the San Francisco Chronicle
Robert “Sargent” Shriver, the father of former California first lady Maria Shriver, a founder of the Peace Corps and the force behind an array of organizations that aided millions of America’s poor, disabled and disadvantaged, died Tuesday in Maryland. He was 95.
Mr. Shriver’s death came after an 8-year-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease that sparked intensive advocacy efforts championed by his daughter and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who sought to boost attention on a debilitating disease affecting millions of Americans and their families.
“He was a man of giant love, energy, enthusiasm, and commitment.” Mr. Shriver’s family said in a statement. “He lived to make the world a more joyful, faithful, and compassionate place. He centered everything on his faith and his family.”
Mr. Shriver married into America’s foremost political family of the 20th Century when he married Eunice Kennedy Shriver – the sister of John, Robert and Edward Kennedy.