Guest Author - Carol Taller
On October 20, 1968 Jacqueline Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis. The marriage took place five years after the public assassination of her first husband, President John F. Kennedy. While living in the White House Jackie earned her reputation as one of the most popular first ladies. She was known for dignity and style.
Aristotle (Ari) Onassis was a wealthy Greek ship owner whose reputation as a business owner was less than honorable. There was a 23 year age gap and the engagement came as a shock to the many observers. Within hours after the announcement of their engagement, Jackie and her two children (Caroline and John Jr.) flew from their New York home and moved to Greece.
Mrs. Onassis quickly became known as Jackie O. She divided her time living in the remote Greek Island Skorpios and Aristotle’s home in Paris. As soon as Jackie O. remarried, she lost her protection from the Secret Service which was entitled to her as a widow of an American President. Jackie believed her children would be safer living out of the country, even though they would no longer have Secret Service protection.
Jackie and Ari appeared to be very happy at first. Eventually, it was rumored that Jackie’s exorbitant spending was becoming a concern for Ari. After Ari’s son died in a plane crash he became bitter and the marriage suffered even more.
In January of 1975 Ari became ill and died two months later. Jackie was only 46 years old and a widow for the second time. At Ari’s funeral she wrote a statement claiming Ari helped her when her life was full of shadows and they had many beautiful experiences together.
After Ari’s death Jackie moved back to the United States and began a new life again. She obtained a job as a book editor.
In 1994 she was told that she had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer that attacks the immune system. She was treated with chemotherapy and endured the difficult treatment. She continued working and spending time with friends and family. Unfortunately, the cancer spread. She died on May 19, 1994, just two months before her 65th birthday.