- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kara Kennedy, the eldest of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s three children, was remembered at her funeral Wednesday as a thoughtful friend and devoted mother who also had a mischievous side.

Her brother Ted Kennedy Jr. said during the Mass at Holy Trinity Church in Washington that she was “always up for anything and always there to help.”

Ms. 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 Joseph R. Biden Jr.; Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat; and cousins 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 first was 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 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, Ms. Kennedy was a board member of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, director emerita and national trustee of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and a national advisory board member for the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

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