Townsend waits with family for word

Lt. governor among those at Kennedy compound

July 18, 1999|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

This was to have been a week of political and family celebration for Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. It began with a Baltimore fund-raiser and was to conclude yesterday with the wedding on Cape Cod of her youngest sister, Rory.

Instead, the wedding was postponed, and Townsend and her family spent the day awaiting word on the fate of her cousin, John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife and sister-in-law.

Townsend and her husband, David, were among those gathered at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Mass., for the wedding. Also on hand was Maryland state Del. Mark K. Shriver of Montgomery County, a cousin of Townsend and Kennedy.

Townsend did not respond to messages seeking an interview yesterday. "She's with her family and, like everybody else, is waiting," said Alan H. Fleischmann, her chief of staff.

Townsend, 48, is the eldest Kennedy of her generation and the only woman in the family to hold elective office.

The daughter of the slain Robert F. Kennedy, she is now in her fifth year as Maryland's lieutenant governor and is considered a front-runner in the 2002 race for governor.

Shriver, a second-term Democrat, is the son of Sargent and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Eunice Shriver is a sister of John and Robert Kennedy.

Townsend's father stressed to his children the importance of family -- memorably when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963. Kathleen Kennedy was 12. Two days after the slaying, her father wrote her, urging her to help care for her younger brother Joe and the president's young son, John.

"As the oldest of the Kennedy grandchildren, you have a particular responsibility now -- a special responsibility to John and Joe," Bobby Kennedy wrote his daughter. "Be kind to others and work for your country. Love, Daddy."

Pub Date: 7/18/99

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