Carolyn <I>Bessette</I> Kennedy

Carolyn Bessette Kennedy

White Plains, Westchester County, New York, USA
Death 16 Jul 1999 (aged 33)
At Sea
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea, Specifically: Cremated remains scattered off the coast of Martha's Vineyard from the US Navy Ship USS Briscoe
Memorial ID 5948 · View Source
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Socialite and wife of John F. Kennedy, Jr. She gained a certain notoriety herself due to public interest and attention to her husband. Born in White Plains, New York, she was the youngest daughter of Dr. William J. and Ann Messina Bessette. Her father was a surgeon and her mother an administrator in the New York public school system. She grew up in affluent Greenwich, Connecticut, attending St. Mary's High School, where in her senior year, she was voted "All Around Beautiful Person." In 1988, after graduating from Boston University, she went to work at a Calvin Klein store in Boston. With her good looks, she soon became a model in New York City, and then became a publicist for Calvin Klein Company, where she is supposed to have met Kennedy while he was shopping for suits. As they dated, they became instant targets of the paparazzi, which she reportedly hated. Although pursued by the paparazzi, and the constant target of tabloid press, she non-the-less decided to marry JFK Jr, which she did on September 21, 1996, on secluded Cumberland Island, Georgia, in an attempt to elude the anticipated media frenzy. After a honeymoon in Turkey, the couple returned to the US, where the media immediately crowned her "Camelot's New Queen." While most of her press reviews complemented Carolyn on her grace and pose, she reportedly hated the comparison with her mother-in-law, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Carolyn accompanied her older sister, Lauren, and her husband, John F. Kennedy, Jr. on his private plane while they went to a Kennedy family wedding of his cousin, Rory Kennedy, at Hyannisport, Massachusetts; Lauren was to be dropped off first at Martha's Vineyard while Carolyn and her husband proceeded on to Hyannisport. The aircraft, a six seat, single engine Piper Saratoga II HP, departed Essex County Airport in Fairfield, New Jersey for Martha's Vineyard in the late afternoon, with John F. Kennedy, Jr at the controls, and crashed shortly after dark just off of Martha's Vineyard. When the plane failed to arrive as scheduled, a search was begun, but by the next day, President Bill Clinton authorized the US Navy to enter the search on the grounds that the missing JFK Jr was a national figure (as private citizens, they were normally not authorized to have the US Government search for them). The plane was found approximately seven miles offshore, in approximately 100 feet of water, with all three occupants believed to have been killed instantly when it hit the water. Having left no will, Carolyn's mother, Ann Messina Freeman (she had divorced her husband several years earlier, and remarried to Dr. Richard Freeman, an orthopedic surgeon) received permission from the Manhattan court to become the administrator of her daughter's estate; she later successfully sued the Kennedy estate for wrongful death with an undisclosed out-of-court settlement. Carolyn's ashes were scattered at sea off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, along with those of JFK Jr and her sister Lauren, in a funeral service on the Navy's USS Briscoe, one of the ships sent to search for the missing trio.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 23 Jul 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 5948
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Carolyn Bessette Kennedy (7 Jan 1966–16 Jul 1999), Find a Grave Memorial no. 5948, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea, who reports a Cremated remains scattered off the coast of Martha's Vineyard from the US Navy Ship USS Briscoe.