He was the son of Joseph F. Gargan, Sr. and Mary Agnes Fitzgerald (1892—1936). The Kennedys raised him and his two younger sisters after the 1936 death of their mother, Mary Agnes Fitzgerald (Rose's sister). Joseph F. Gargan, Sr. was a prominent Lowell, Mass., attorney and World War I hero. Joey and his two sisters, Mary Jo Gargan and Ann Gargan, are first cousins of World War II casualty Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy, Jr. (1915—1944), President John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy (1917—1963), Senator Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy (1925—1968), and longtime Senator Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (1932—2009). He was present on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, on the night leading up to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.
- JFK cousins
- Damore, Leo. Senatorial Privilege: The Chappaquiddick Cover-Up. Washington, DC: Regnery Gateway, 1988.
- Klein, Edward. The Kennedy Curse. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2003.
- Tedrow, Richard L. and Tedrow, Thomas L. Death at Chappaquiddick. Gretna LA: Pelican Publishing, 1980.
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