Over 3,000 individuals participated in a virtual memorial service for Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her young son Gideon. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. revealed on social media that about 120 family members, as well as 3,000 friends, celebrated the pair’s lives over the Easter weekend. Maeve’s uncles Timmy Shriver and Mark Bailey officiated the Zoom service, while singers Kenny Chesney, Natasha Bedingfield, and Melissa Etheridge performed.
Mark Bailey, who is married to Rory Kennedy, told People magazine that Maeve’s sister Kat and her husband Tyson “worked directly with Zoom’s tech department” to figure out how to make the service, titled “A Gathering of Love and Thanksgiving for Maeve and Gideon,” happen with such a large number of participants. Mark said, “While we’re not in the same space, we can’t hug or kiss, we’re not physically with each other, they’re still with us. And it means so much to us to have you here with us too. And so through this nutty Zoom call, we’re going to share and touch and visit and shine a light on this love for Maeve and Gideon that holds us all together.”
Maeve’s husband David McKean recalled their “intense love” story during his eulogy. He shared, “That intense love never dulled at all. It just grew. It got deeper and more complex and more complete. It incorporated our triumphs and our struggles and our joy and our fights and more laughter than anyone could ever expect to a lifetime, and it became the foundation on which we built our lives.”
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After a week of daily prayer services on Zoom, some 120 family members today joined 3000 friends to celebrate Maeve’s & Gideon’s lives. Maeve’s uncles Timmy Shriver and Mark Bailey officiated. @KennyChesney @NatashaBedingfield @Melissa_Etheridge sang. I was proud when Maeve attended BC drawn by the Jesuit commitment to social justice She served 2 years in the Peace Corps in Mozambique and her adult life working to relieve the burden of oppression on women and HIV/AIDS in developing nations Those battles took her from running relief efforts in Bangladesh,the Congo and Haiti to a White House appointment leading international assistance program She ran marathons,climbed mountains (including Summiting Mt Rainer with her mom) & served as PTA president. Her principal preoccupations were her children and her husband David. Their shared love inspired our family. She had an irrepressible smile & strong arms that seemed always thrashing to accompany her booming voice. She was hard headed,and fearless in defending her opinions. We differed on vaccines but I never faltered in my admiration,respect and pure love for Maeve,the joy I felt in her presence and my gratitude to her for the strong values & boundless energy that made her the finest ambassador for the Kennedy family. She spent her life’s force in efforts to compel our country to achieve its highest ideals always displaying the virtues that the world hopes to see from the Kennedys and that we expect from each other. Two international awards for children’s health and women’s rights have already been renamed for Maeve. Gideon’s first word was “ball”. He dribbled a basketball before he could speak and played every sport-from soccer to golf-with proficiency. He was the fastest kid in his class. Heir to Maeve’s passion for justice, he stood up to bullies,befriended the lonely kids and made sure his younger siblings were never ignored amidst the chaos of 100+ cousins at Cape Cod. He was confident & intensely curious with a piercing wit, a fascination for language and rationale discourse beyond his years,obsessions for the NFL and the Stock Market & a smile that occupied his entire face. Their loss diminishes our world.
Another tearful tribute came from Maeve’s uncle Doug Kennedy, who acknowledged the number of losses the Kennedys have endured over the years. “You know, even looking out over all the faces of my family over the past week and today, and I look out over for all of us and we’ve all suffered losses. We’ve lost mothers and we’ve lost fathers and we’ve lost sisters and we’ve lost brothers and we’ve lost sons and we’ve lost daughters,” he said. “But none of us have ever lost anybody who was Gideon’s age.”
Robert F. Kennedy’s granddaughter accidentally drowned following a canoe accident. Maeve and her son went missing on April 2 after boarding a canoe on Chesapeake Bay to retrieve a ball that had been kicked into the water. The pair’s bodies were retrieved less than a week later. Aside from Gideon, Maeve also shared seven-year-old daughter Gabriella and two-year-old son Toby with her husband David. The family of five was self-quarantining at a property owned by Maeve’s mother, Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend,on Chesapeake Bay, so that the children could have “more space” to “run around” compared to their home in Washington, D.C.