Funeral rites held for Kara Kennedy

Kara Kennedy

WASHINGTON -- 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 had a mischievous side like her father.

During services at Holy Trinity Church in Washington, her brothers remembered her as an avid swimmer and someone who sent cards in the mail with newspaper clippings enclosed rather than emails with attachments.

Her brother Patrick Kennedy said he pictured his sister and their father, who died in 2009, sailing off into "the starry skies together."

"Dad now has his first mate, his crew right by his side, helping him along the way," said Patrick.

Kara Kennedy died Friday after a workout at a Washington health club. The 51-year-old was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2002 but underwent successful surgery and treatment.

Patrick Kennedy said after her death that her cancer treatment left her physically weakened and that her heart gave out. The District of Columbia's medical examiner has not yet released an official cause of death.

Among those attending Wednesday's 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 Kennedy during the presidential primaries.

Her father was elected to the Senate in 1962, taking the seat that his brother had occupied before winning the presidency.