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Kennedy in-law R. Sargent Shriver dies; ran Peace Corps, poverty war

R. Sargent Shriver, the exuberant public servant and Kennedy in-law whose career included directing the Peace Corps, fighting the War on Poverty, serving as ambassador to France and, less successfully, running for office, died Tuesday. He was 95.

Shriver, who announced in 2003 that he had Alzheimer's disease, had been hospitalized for several days.

Shriver, one of the last links to President John F. Kennedy's administration, died less than two years after his wife, Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, died on Aug. 11, 2009, at 88. The Kennedy family suffered a second blow that month when Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., died.

Speaking outside Suburban Hospital in Maryland, Anthony Kennedy Shriver said his father was "with my mom now." He called his parents' marriage a great love story.

At Eunice Shriver's memorial service, their daughter Maria Shriver said her father let her mother "rip and he let her roar, and he loved everything about her." He had attended the service in a wheelchair.

The handsome Shriver was often known first as an in-law -- brother-in-law of President Kennedy and, late in life, father-in-law of actor-former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who married Maria Shriver.

But his achievements were historic in their own right and changed millions of lives: the Peace Corps' first director and the leader of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty, out of which came Head Start and Legal Services.

Within the family, Shriver was sometimes relied upon for the hardest tasks. When Jacqueline Kennedy needed the funeral arranged for her assassinated husband, she asked her brother-in-law.

Though the Kennedys granted Sargent Shriver power, they also withheld it.

He had considered running for governor of Illinois in 1960, only to be told the family needed his help for John Kennedy's presidential campaign. Hubert H. Humphrey considered him for running mate in the 1968 election, but family resistance helped Humphrey change his mind.

When Shriver finally became a candidate, the results were disastrous: He was George McGovern's running mate in the 1972 election, but the Democrats lost in a landslide to President Richard M. Nixon. Shriver was actually McGovern's second choice, picked after Sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri pulled out after admitting he had undergone electric shock treatment for his depression.

Four years later, Shriver's presidential campaign ended quickly, overrun by Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter.

Besides Maria Shriver, the Shrivers had four sons -- Robert, Timothy, Mark and Paul Anthony. Mark Shriver was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1995 and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2002. They also had 19 grandchildren.

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