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Kerry’s First Wife Julia Thorne Is Dead At 61

From the Boston Globe:

Julia Thorne and John Kerry in 1972.

Julia Thorne, at 61; author, activist was ex-wife of Senator Kerry

By Mark Feeney, Globe Staff | April 28, 2006

Julia Thorne, an author, activist, and former wife of US Senator John F. Kerry, died yesterday in Concord. She was 61.

The cause of death was transitional-cell carcinoma, a form of cancer, according to her daughter Vanessa Kerry.

In a telephone interview, John Kerry called Ms. Thorne ”a great friend to a lot of people" and spoke with emotion of her accomplishments as a parent. ”She was the best mom two daughters could want," he said. ”She was completely committed to the kids and their future."

Her daughter echoed that view.

”She was a phenomenal mother," said Vanessa Kerry, of Cambridge. ”And she affected many others, too. So many people have come up to me over the years, even on the campaign trail, to say how much of a difference her books made for them. People basked in her embrace of life."

Ms. Thorne was the author of ”You Are Not Alone: Words of Experience and Hope for the Journey through Depression" (1993), with Larry Rothstein, and ”A Change of Heart: Words of Experience and Hope for the Journey through Divorce" (1996).

The former book reflected her own experience with depression, something she suffered from during much of the 1980s. She later founded The Depression Initiative, a nonprofit education foundation.

”Depression isn’t always a bad thing," Ms. Thorne said in a 1993 Globe interview. ”Under certain circumstances it will teach you things."

Ms. Thorne had a longstanding interest in the arts, dating to a childhood ambition to become a dancer. She served as assistant director of the Institute of Contempory Art during the mid-’70s and was later a board member of the Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation.

Ms. Thorne never felt comfortable with the demands of being a political wife.

”What she disdained more than anything was politics," said Douglas Brinkley in a telephone interview yesterday. Brinkley, the author of ”Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War," added that Ms. Thorne ”didn’t enjoy the breakfasts, the lunches, the shaking of hands: the upbeat rigamarole of politics. She loathed the back-stabbing of it. She went on her own journey, one based on spirituality and nature."

Ms. Thorne and Kerry divorced in 1988. She moved to Wyoming in 1993 and became active in environmental causes. After she and Richard J. Charlesworth married in 1997, they moved to Bozeman, Mont…

In the summer of 1963, Ms. Thorne was at her family’s estate in New York, on Long Island, when Kerry, a Yale classmate of her twin brother, David, arrived for a visit. She was wearing a bikini and singing a Peter, Paul, and Mary song, ”Five Hundred Miles." Clearly smitten, ”he just kind of stood there and looked," Ms. Thorne recalled in a Globe interview. They married in 1970.

Ms. Thorne and Kerry remained friendly after their divorce and she supported his presidential candidacy in 2004. ”I don’t have a single reservation about this man," she said in 2003. ”He is an extraordinarily astute politician."

There could be little doubt, though, of her own sense of relief not to be involved in the campaign. ”After 14 years as a political wife, I associated politics only with anger, fear, and loneliness," she wrote in ”A Change of Heart."

”She saw the life of the rich and famous and rejected it," Brinkley said yesterday. ”She saw the life of a celebrity in the modern world and disdained it. She sought the life of a serious person in a thoughtful community." …

This was Kerry’s first millionaire heiress. She was the sister of his best friend, David Thorne.

In May 1970, during their honeymoon, they traveled to France to meet Madame Nguyen Thi Binh and other Viet Cong and Communist Vietnamese representatives to the Paris peace talks.

An illegal act Kerry bragged about in his notorious appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, April 22, 1971:

I have been to Paris. I have talked with both delegations at the peace talks, that is to say the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government and of all eight of Madam Binh’s points…

Julia bought a house for Kerry in a Congressional district he thought he could win. He was wrong, and he lost. Julia then paid for him to go to law school at Boston College.

She developed chronic depression while married to Kerry. After they divorced, Kerry sought to have their 18 year marriage annulled, over Julia’s objections and despite the fact they had two children..

According the Washington Blade:

 Kerry and Thorne finalized their divorce in 1988… After Thorne requested an increase in alimony in 1995, Kerry sought an annulment of their marriage from the Catholic Church, a move observers saw as retaliatory. Kerry eventually received the annulment from the Boston diocese despite Thorne’s vehement objections.

I guess the Boston Globe thought it would be bad taste to mention such details.

But they shouldn’t lie about things either.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Friday, April 28th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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