It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Kara Kennedy. Kara was the daughter of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Joan Bennett Kennedy, and a Board member of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.
Kara suffered an apparent heart attack following her daily work out. She leaves her loving children, Grace and Max; her mother Joan; her brothers Ted, Jr. and Patrick; her step mother Victoria Reggie Kennedy; and her stepbrother and sister, Curran and Caroline Raclin.
Kara was a warm and caring person. Her children were the light and joy of her life. Her magnificent strength in her successful battle with lung cancer was a quiet inspiration to all us and provided her family and fellow patients with hope. Kara was loved and cherished by the entire Kennedy family.
Kara recently co-produced a film for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute which was shown at the Institute’s inaugural gala and groundbreaking event. We will all greatly miss Kara’s energy and commitment to the Institute and her generous spirit.
Kara was a filmmaker and television producer. She produced numerous videos and materials for Very Special Arts, an organization founded by her aunt Jean Kennedy Smith. Kara also served on the National Advisory Board of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and as a Director Emerita and National Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.
The tragedies this poor family has had to encounter and endure over the generations are overwhelming and sadly it never ceases to stop.
I can only imagine what is now going through her Children’s, Mother, Brothers, Cousins and other relatives minds. Monday is her daughter’s Grace 17th birthday and my heart aches for this teen.
For most of this last week with Caroline Kennedy being interviewed for the latest book and audio tapes from just 4 months after President Kennedy’s death being released. I watched the two-hour special of that history and relived the same memory. How I felt we had all had been cheated as a country and of people.
First when President John Kennedy never got the chance to complete what his ideals were all about much less be re-elected to finish what could have been. Then the same with my personal hero Bobby Kennedy and our last hope then to end the Vietnam conflict. And for those that don’t know that the President was going to withdraw our troops prior to being assassinated in 1963. Then read the blog I wrote when Senator Ted Kennedy died.
When we watched (which in my mind felt like a split second ago) the funeral of Ted Kennedy on Aug. 29, 2009 and looking at all three of his children, never did it enter our minds so soon two years later that one of those children would pass on as well. Unlike Caroline Kennedy who more publicly carries out the Kennedy legacy, her cousin Kara also carried out and on with her Dad’s just a little more privately.
In a statement by her ex husband Mike Allen:
“Insofar as I’m concerned her legacy is one of courage and grit and determination in the face of her own illness and in the face of many family tragedies and limitless, absolutely limitless, devotion to our children,”.
Kara Kennedy was born on Feb. 27, 1960 the eldest of Ted & Joan three children. In 2002 at age 42, Kennedy was diagnosed with lung cancer. Initially told the disease was inoperable but the family refused to accept that and her Dad found a surgeon at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital willing to remove part of her lung in 2003 to save her life. Ted Kennedy accompanied his daughter to chemotherapy treatments.
In August 2009 Kara Kennedy accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, on behalf of her father. She teared up as the senator’s accomplishments were read aloud. She smiled when President Barack Obama, whom Ted Kennedy had endorsed in 2008, put his arm around her shoulder in a comforting way.
Five months before her death, Kara Kennedy wrote of her father and the institute named in his honor in an article published in The Boston Globe Magazine. She described Christmas 1984, when her father insisted on spending the night helping relief workers feed hungry people in the Ethiopian desert. And how each summer, Ted Kennedy loaded the family into a Winnebago for road trips to hike through historic battlefields and buildings.
“What mattered to my father was not the scale of an accomplishment, but that we did our share to make the world better,” she wrote. “That we learned we were part of something larger than ourselves.”
Rich family? Yes but in so many more ways than anybody will ever realize, where it counts. The Heart.
This is the Kennedy Legacy.
Kara’s accomplishments in her own right.
Grace Kennedy Allen (born September 19, 1994)and Max Greathouse Allen (born December 20, 1996).
Helped produce several videos for Very Special Arts, an organization founded by her aunt Jean Kennedy Smith.
Board member for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute.
Director emerita and national trustee of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.
National advisory board member for the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Terry Lierman, the co-founder of NOFAS stated: she was always positive, even when she was ill, and always available when the organization needed her.
“She was always there, but she was there for the cause and not for her own visibility, “I always found it so refreshing.”
Kara died Friday Sept. 16th, she was 51 years old.
She will be remembered as her Dad who left us two years ago but she now is in his arms and they are both in Jesus’s with their other family members.
God Speed to her children Grace & Max, her Mother, Brothers other family members, friends and all who were touched by her devotion for all her causes that were so dear to her.
The Kennedy’s are still our Camelot that lies within and will always remain in the hearts of my generation.
Kara Kennedy (1960 – 2011)
“The Kennedy Institute Board and our entire community is deeply saddened by the news we received today about our friend, and a remarkably caring and thoughtful leader, Kara Kennedy. She inspired all of us with her indefatigable spirit; the courageous way in which she prevailed in her battle with lung cancer; and the deep commitment she exhibited to making her beloved father’s vision a reality. She touched all our hearts with her generosity and kindness.
Today, we send our heartfelt condolences to her children, Grace and Max; her entire family; and all those who had the good fortune of calling her friend. In the months and years ahead, we will continue to draw inspiration from the example she set for all of us.”
– Statement of Lee Fentress, Chairman
Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate