88, in Boston Massachusetts. He was born the son of Patrick Joseph Kennedy, a local politician and successful businessman, and his wife Mary Augusta Hickey Kennedy. His parents wanted only the best for young Joe. In 1901 Joe was enrolled in Boston Latin, and elite boys catholic school. He was a very popular student there as president of his class, colonel on the drill team, a baseball player, and valedictorian. The next step for Joe was Harvard. There things were different; he was not the most popular student. He was not a particularly good student, and because of his Irish heritage, he had to endure a lot of slurs against his background. Yet he graduated thinking he was just as good as anyone in the class of 1912.
After Harvard he decided to go into banking, where he received a position as a state bank examiner. In less than a year he saw the opportunity he wanted. The Columbia Trust was about to be taken over by the First National. Joe decided that if anybody was to take over the Columbia, he should be the one. Joe had supporters, which was accompanied by a game of bluff that finally forced First National to give up. When the merger was called off, the Columbia directors rewarded him with the top job. At 25 he had become the youngest bank president in the country.
In 1914, now the successful bank president married the love of his life, Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald. Rose was the daughter of the Mayor of Boston, John Francis Fitzgerald, a leading Irish figure in Boston. Together they had 9 children, Joseph Patrick Jr., John Fitzgerald, Rosemary, Kathleen, Eunice Mary, Patricia, Robert Francis, Jean Ann, and Edward Moore.
By the age of 30 he had amassed a great fortune through business ventures that included motion pictures, shipbuilding, and real estate, and through the stock market. As chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission in 1937, he laid the groundwork for the U.S. merchant marine. He was ambassador to Great Britain from 1938 to 1940. But perhaps his greatest achievement was seeing his son become John become President of the United States.
As his parents did for him, he did the same for his children. He wanted nothing more than to see one his children as a great political leader. John F. Kennedy graduated from Harvard, as his father did before him, and went to become the 35th President of the United States of America.
In the middle of his life, when a Boston newspaper referred to him as an “Irishman” one time too many, Joe exploded: “Goddamn it! I was born in this country! My children were born in this country! What the hell does someone have to do to become and American?” And that he was not only an American, but also probably the epitome of the American dream.