Carolyn Bessette Kennedy (1966 -1999)
Greenwich, CT, USA
Carolyn Bessette Kennedy was born on January 7, 1966 in White Plains, NY then moved to Greenwich, CT, when her parents divorced when she was eight years old. A graduate of Boston University, she resigned her job at Calvin Klein, where she worked first as personal shopper to celebrity clients then as a publicist, shortly before her marriage.
The Bessette family enjoyed a relatively quiet, anonymous life before Carolyn Bessette married into America's most famous family. Friends of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Lauren Bessette gathered at a Mass in the community they grew up in on Sunday 18th July 1999, offering condolences and memories of women they say captivated them long before they became part of the Kennedy clan.
John F. Kennedy Jr., 38, his wife, Bessette Kennedy, 33, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, 35, died on Friday 16 July 1999 in Kennedy's plane after it left Fairfield, N.J., for Cape Cod, Mass., for a Kennedy cousin's wedding.
Among the wreckage pulled from the waters off Martha's Vineyard were a prescription bottle belonging to Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and a piece of luggage belonging to Lauren Bessette.
Carolyn and her twin sisters, Lauren and Lisa, were raised by their mother, Ann Freeman, who worked as a teacher and administrator in the New York public schools, and their stepfather, Richard Freeman, an orthopaedic surgeon.
Lauren Bessette, who is 18 months older than Carolyn, graduated from Greenwich High School in 1982. She worked as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in New York City.
Bessette Kennedy, 33, married Kennedy in a top-secret ceremony in September 1996.
When she graduated from St. Mary's in 1983, she was voted "The Ultimate Beautiful Person,'' by her classmates.
The Bessettes’ mother and stepfather have one surviving daughter, Lisa, who was Lauren’s twin.
“Dr. and Mrs. Richard Freeman and William J. Bessette would like to thank the many individuals and governmental agencies that have assisted in the exhaustive search for their beloved family members.
Each of these three young people Lauren Bessette, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and John F. Kennedy Jr. was the embodiment of love, accomplishment and passion for life.
John and Carolyn were true soul mates and we hope to honor them in death in the simple manner in which they chose to live their lives. We take solace in the thought that together they will comfort Lauren for eternity. We are especially appreciative of the privacy and support provided us by our friends and family and community. Nothing in life is preparation for the loss of a child. ”
On Saturday July 24th 1999, friends and family members gathered to bid a final, farewell to Lauren Bessette and her sister, Carolyn who perished with John F. Kennedy Jr. in a plane crash a week before.
Outside Christ Church, where a private memorial service took place , hundreds of people gathered to show support for the family, leaving bouquets and hand-written notes. They spoke of two remarkable daughters, two promise-filled futures. And the unspeakable sorrow of parents forced to bury their children.
The candlelight service was held in the name of Lauren, the “other Bessette”, the victim the world knew least, although prayers were also offered for Carolyn and John.
Numerous members of the Kennedy clan attended, including JFK Jr.’s uncle Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, aunts Ethel Kennedy and Jean Kennedy Smith, cousins Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Douglas Kennedy, Maxwell Kennedy, Maria Shriver, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo and Rory Kennedy.
More than 400 guests were invited to the ecumenical service. Ann Freeman, the Bessette sisters’ mother, and Dr. Richard Freeman, their stepfather arrived early, along with Lisa Ann, Lauren’s twin. The parents attended a separate service for Kennedy and his wife in New York on Friday 23rd July 1999.
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