WASHINGTON (AP) — Kara Kennedy, the oldest of three children of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, was remembered at funeral services Wednesday as a thoughtful friend and devoted mother who also had a mischievous side.
Her brother Ted Kennedy Jr. said during the services at Holy Trinity Church in Washington that she was "always up for anything and always there to help."
Kara Kennedy died Friday after a workout at a Washington health club. The 51-year-old had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 2002 but underwent successful surgery and treatment. Her brother Patrick Kennedy said the treatment left her physically weakened, however, and that her heart gave out.
Among those attending the funeral were Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, and relatives Caroline Kennedy and Maria Shriver.
Kara Kennedy was born on Feb. 27, 1960, to Edward and Joan Kennedy, just as her father was on the campaign trail for his brother John F. Kennedy during the presidential primaries. Her father was first elected to the Senate in 1962, taking the seat that his brother had occupied before winning the White House. He served longer than all but three senators in history.
Though she never sought elected office herself, Kara Kennedy appeared with her father during his unsuccessful 1980 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, and she and her brother Edward Kennedy Jr. helped run the senator's 1988 re-election campaign.
In 2009, as her father was dying of brain cancer, she accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom on his behalf during a ceremony at the White House. Ted Kennedy died two weeks later at the age of 77.
A graduate of Tufts University, she was a board member for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute; director emerita and national trustee of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation; and as a national advisory board member for the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.