Stephen Edward Smith

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Stephen Edward Smith
Personal details
Born September 24, 1927
Bayport, New York[1]
Died August 19, 1990 (aged 62)
Manhattan, New York[1]
Spouse(s) Jean Ann Kennedy
(m. 1956; his death 1990)
Children Stephen Edward Smith, Jr.
William Kennedy Smith,
Amanda Mary Smith,
Kym Maria Smith
Alma mater Georgetown
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1951–1952
Rank First lieutenant
Battles/wars Korean War

Stephen Edward Smith (September 24, 1927 – August 19, 1990) was the husband of Jean Ann Kennedy. He was a financial analyst and political strategist in the 1960 United States Presidential campaign of his brother-in-law John F. Kennedy.


Smith was born in Bayport, Long Island, New York, and grew up in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. He attended Georgetown University, graduating in 1948 with a bachelor's degree (history). He served during the Korean War as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force from 1951–1952.[1]

Smith joined his family's business, Cleary Brothers Inc., which operated tugs and barges on New York's upstate canals and in New York Harbor. He then headed the Park Agency Inc., in Manhattan, where he managed $300 million in Kennedy family investments.

Smith and Jean Ann Kennedy were married May 19, 1956, at which point he became the brother-in-law of future President John F. Kennedy. Smith managed the family's fortune out of a New York City Office building. Smith was responsible for overseeing the trusts that benefited him and his family as well as the other children and grandchildren of Joe and Rose Kennedy. Stephen and Jean had two sons, Stephen, Jr. and William, and later adopted two daughters, Amanda and Kym.

Smith played an active role in JFK's 1960 campaign, and was working as Kennedy's campaign manager for re-election at the time of President Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963. Smith served as Robert F. Kennedy's campaign manager during his 1968 presidential run. In the fall of 1979, as polls showed that Senator Ted Kennedy could easily defeat President Jimmy Carter in the Democratic primaries, Kennedy announced his candidacy and made Smith his campaign manager. Many of Kennedy's younger campaign workers considered Smith to be a has-been who did not understand modern campaign advertising, strategy, or fund raising. Kennedy lost to Carter and chose to not run again.

Smith was known as a tough, aggressive and sometimes abrasive operator in both the financial and political worlds. Some creditors who were owed money by the three Kennedy campaigns were allegedly offered twenty cents on the dollar, with the rate soon to decline if they didn't settle. In particular, the Robert F. Kennedy campaign of 1968 ended with a $5 million debt ($30,000,000 in 2007 dollars). The Kennedy family agreed to help pay the debts, which took years to settle.

A longtime smoker, Smith died at his home in Manhattan[1] in 1990, after a brief battle with lung cancer at the age of 62.

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 McQuiston, John T. (August 20, 1990), Stephen Smith, 62, Businessman And an Adviser to the Kennedys, New York, NY: New York Times, p. Section B page 10 of the New York edition.