Home>Campaigns>Kennedy’s deal with social distancing tragedy, Harrison recalls sacrifice of great-grandmother

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKeon with her husband, David, and three children, Gideon, Gabriela and Toby. Photo courtesy of Faceb

Kennedy’s deal with social distancing tragedy, Harrison recalls sacrifice of great-grandmother

By David Wildstein, April 05 2020 4:01 pm

Social distancing is entirely personal issue to two candidates for the Democratic nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd district.

Brigid Callahan Harrison’s great-grandmother, Margaret Caine, died during the 1918 flu epidemic.

The 53-year-old mother of nine had nursed her neighbor back to health and then became ill herself.

“A lesson about social distancing, but also that we must be careful taking care of friends and loved ones,” Harrison said.

Harrison heard about her “Good Samaritan” great-grandmother growing up.

Amy Kennedy is dealing with the tragic loss of two cousins, Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKeon and her eight-year-old son, Gideon.

McKeon, 40, and her family left their Washington, D.C. residence to self-quarantine at the home of a relative on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, with the hope of giving their young children a chance to play outdoors.

“Gideon and Maeve were playing kickball by the small, shallow cove behind the house, and one of them kicked the ball into the water. The cove is protected, with much calmer wind and water than in the greater Chesapeake,” McKeon’s husband, David, wrote on Facebook.  “They got into a canoe, intending simply to retrieve the ball, and somehow got pushed by wind or tide into the open bay.”

According to a U.S. Coast Guard report, an onlooker from land saw the two “struggling to return to shore in a canoe.”  Wind gusts of 40 miles-per-hour were reported. The Coast Guard recovered the canoe on Friday night.

They are presumed dead.

“Amy and I are heartbroken.  Maeve and Gideon were beautiful souls who touched so many lives, including our own,” former Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy said on Twitter.

Maeve was the daughter of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and the granddaughter of Patrick Kennedy’s late uncle, Robert F. Kennedy.  She was a Peace Corps volunteer who served in the Obama administration.

Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKeon was the oldest her three children.

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