Rose Kennedy (July 22, 1890 - January 22, 1995) married into the Kennedy family and became its matriarch in the second half of the 20th century, when its members helped shape American politics.
She was born Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, and died at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. She was the eldest child of John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, a prominent figure in Boston politics who served one term as a member of Congress and later became the city's mayor.
The family lived for a time at 39 Welles Avenue, in the Ashmont Hill section of Dorchester, Massachusetts while she attended the local Girl's Latin School. The Victorian, mansard-style home, largest on the street, later burned down. A marker is there, at Welles Avenue and Harley Street, naming it "Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Square". The placement was celebrated by her son, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, in 1992, on Rose's 102nd birthday. She graduated from Dorchester High School in 1906, then attended school at the Manhattanville College for the Sacred Heart (as it was known at that time), as she was prohibited from attending the secular Wellesley College that she wished to attend, and became her father's travelling companion, visiting many countries in Europe in 1908, and also the newly built Panama Canal.
She married Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. on October 7, 1914, after a courtship of more than 7 years, and they lived in nearby Brookline, in a house that is now a national historic landmark. She bore him 9 children, 4 of whom predeceased their parents.
At her death from complications of pneumonia at the age of 104 in 1995, Rose Kennedy was the longest-lived Presidential parent (and/or relative) in history. She was well-known for her philanthropic efforts, as well as leading the Grandparents' Parade at age 90 at the Special Olympics. Her life and work with the Special Olympics are documented in the Oscar-nominated short documentary Rose Kennedy: A Life to Remember.