WASHINGTON, May 17, 2012 — The wife of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Mary Richardson Kennedy, 52, was found dead by an employee yesterday in the barn of their family home in Bedford, N.Y. The Westchester County Medical Examiner’s office has ruled she died of asphyxiation by hanging. While not officially ruled a suicide, she did leave a note.
Her death is the last chapter in a series of volatile events from her arrest for drunk drinking, a domestic incident that necessitated the police being called to the family home, another arrest for driving under the influence of drugs, and the couple filing for divorce. However, the Kennedys were still married at the time of her death, although none of the family was home.
Mary Kennedy, who was a said to have been a gifted architect, leaves four children, ages 10 to 17, making her suicide all the more devastating. Her husband, Robert, 58, has issued no formal statement at this time, although this statement from the Kennedy family was released:
“We deeply regret the death of our beloved sister Mary, whose radiant and creative spirit will be sorely missed by those who loved her. Our heart goes out to her children who she loved without reservation.”
Robert Kennedy is a prominent environmental activist and lawyer, teaching at Pace Law School. He is the third child of Robert and Ethel Kennedy. When he was 14 years old, his father was killed in 1968 by Sirhan Sirhan while campaigning to be president. His uncle, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 while visiting Dallas.
The curse of Camelot has continued to afflict the Kennedy family from 1963 until today:
* In 1969, Senator Ted Kennedy left the scene of an auto accident, not reporting it till the next morning, although the young woman with him drowned.
* In 1984, Robert Kennedy Jr.’s younger brother David overdosed on cocaine and painkillers.
* In 1997, Michael Kennedy, another younger brother, was killed in a skiing accident.
* In 1999, John F. Kennedy, Jr., President Kennedy’s son, and his wife Carolyn Bessette died when their plane, which he had been piloting, crashed into the ocean.
Yet the curse, or call it hard luck, struck as early as the World War II years when Joe Kennedy, the elder brother of President Kennedy, was killed while flying a mission during the war. Sister Kathleen died in a plane crash after the war. And the saga of the various Kennedys, wives, and children and their brushes with the law or drugs and alcohol has made tabloid fodder for years.
Is it the curse of Camelot, people who seem to live charmed lives, but actually live on the brink or is it problem of living in turbulent times and living up to the legacy of being a Kennedy, whatever that means?
For us watching on the outside, their lives fascinate, no matter on what side of the political spectrum you reside. They are not 15-minute celebrities like the Kardashians. They are well educated, social activists or leaders. The Kennedys are part of our political tapestry. A Kennedy name will almost always ensure you will win, whether you decide to run for dogcatcher or president.
Some call it fate and not a curse. Robert Kennedy’s father RFK dared that fate in 1965 when he climbed Mount Kennedy in the Canada. Named for President Kennedy, RFK, who had no mountain climbing experience, was determined to scale the 14,000-foot mountain that had never been climbed before. A rather risky undertaking, even with an experienced three-man team, making sure he made it to the top and down in one piece. Many observers at the time believed Kennedy was deliberately tempting fate, seeing if he could do it without being killed. He survived, only to be assassinated three years later.
And now the tragic saga unfolds once more as we follow the details, see the anguish of the Kennedy family, and wonder who is next.
To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.
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