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Mourners Remember Eunice Kennedy Shriver


Mourners, including dignitaries and many Special Olympians, packed a church Friday for the private funeral honoring Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who died Tuesday at age 88.

Her daughter, Maria Shriver, and son-in-law, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and other family members carried the casket into Saint Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

Maria Shriver remembered her mother as a transformative and towering figure who was a hero to the five Shriver children. Maria described her mother, affectionately called "mummy," as focused, relentless, compassionate and kind.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was among the attendees at the invitation-only funeral Mass. Eunice Shriver's only living brother, Senator Edward Kennedy, has been battling brain cancer and did not attend.

Called the "queen of humanity" by opening speaker, Special Olympian and close friend Loretta Claiborne, Shriver is widely credited with helping to change the world's perception and treatment of the mentally disabled.

In the 1960s, she founded the Special Olympics, an athletic movement for the mentally disabled now held in more than 150 countries. She was the sister of late U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Shriver, who had suffered a series of strokes in recent years, died in the company of her husband, Sargent Shriver, their five children and 19 grandchildren.

The move to begin the Special Olympics was inspired in part by her mentally disabled sister, Rosemary.

The organization said Shriver "changed the world for the better like few others in history."

Shriver was one of nine children. Her siblings also included the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated while campaigning for president in 1968.

Shriver's daughter, Maria, is a former television journalist who is married to Governor Schwarzenegger.

U.S. President Barack Obama has praised Shriver as "an extraordinary woman" who taught the world that "no physical or mental barrier can restrain the power of the human spirit."

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