John Fitzgerald Kennedy, or JFK, was the 35th president of the United States. He served from 1961 to 1963, and he was the first Roman Catholic president. He had barely served 1,000 days in office before he was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963.
Kennedy was the son of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. The Kennedys and the Fitzgeralds were both Irish Catholic families. His maternal grandfather served as the mayor of Boston, and his paternal grandfather was an affluent liquor trader and banker. Kennedy was named after his maternal grandfather John E. Fitzgerald.
Kennedy was not a healthy child, and he suffered a variety of illnesses. When he was almost 3 years old, Kennedy contracted scarlet fever, and he spent a month in the hospital. The disease nearly took his life.