Latest Kennedy death brings illness, animosity into public

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Mary Richardson Kennedy’s death and burial, like her life, has been a struggle. The 52-year-old designer/architect and environmentalist, estranged wife of Robert Kennedy Jr involved in a rancorous divorce case, was found dead 16 May and her hanging was ruled a suicide. The Kennedy family held a wake Friday near Boston, Massachussetts, but the the Richardson family also announced it was holding a wake in Manhattan at an unspecified date. The families went to court over custody of the body; the court documents were then sealed. “The medical examiner’s office in Westchester County had been told there would be court proceedings related to custody of Mary Kennedy’s body and waited for a court order before releasing it to a funeral home in Bedford,” NPR cites county spokeswoman Donna Greene as saying.

The couple had four children. Mary was Kennedy’s second wife; the two married in 1996 but had known each other since she was a teenage friend of Robert’s sister Kerry, who told US media outside the Catholic church where the service was held that “She struggled so hard, for so long, with mental illness, which so many Americans suffer with … She fought with dignity, and in the end, the demons won.”

AP video