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Kara Anne Kennedy

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KENNEDY, Kara Anne On September 16, 2011, Kara Anne Kennedy, the daughter of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Joan Bennett Kennedy, and the devoted mother of Grace Allen, 17, and Max Allen, 14, died unexpectedly of natural causes. She was 51. Kara was born into a public family, but was a private person who was able to live her life outside the public glare. After graduating from the National Cathedral School in 1978, Kara worked on her father's 1980 Presidential campaign before matriculating at Tufts University. Following the receipt of her degree in 1983 she pursued a career in television, working at Fox News in New York and at an evening news magazine in Boston. She also successfully co-managed her father's 1988 re-election campaign with her brother Ted. But Kara always wanted to give back for all that had been given to her. So she turned her considerable talents to producing films for the VSA, an organization founded by her aunt Jean Kennedy Smith to encourage participation in the arts by persons with disabilities. One of Kara's favorite projects was a film she produced on Chris Burke, the actor with Down Syndrome who starred in the television series "Life Goes On." She confided in friends that the film project had as much of a positive impact on her as it did on the viewing audience. In 1990, Kara married architect and real estate developer Michael Allen of Jamestown, RI. When their first child, Grace, was born in September 1994, Kara made the decision to be a full time mother and homemaker. She flourished in the role. After Max's birth in 1996, Kara's glow continued to shine brighter. Kara still found time to volunteer, and was involved with the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She served as Director Emerita and as National Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. Kara also gave her time to Sibley Hospital, and was devoted to the women of the N Street Village in Washington, DC, where she also volunteered. She served as a Board member of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate where she recently co-produced a film about the Institute that was shown at its inaugural groundbreaking event. Like her father, Kara was a reading tutor and was preparing to join the Board of Reading Partners. Kara was legendary for her thoughtfulness to others, often sending a cute, usually irreverent, card or a warm thank you note, or making a phone call just to say you were on her mind. She inspired true loyalty among her friends because she was such a true friend. In 2002, she was diagnosed with serious lung cancer. But with her trademark determination, she went through aggressive surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, and had been in remission from her cancer since that time. She was a fitness buff. She tried to swim and run every day, including Friday, her last day. Kara is survived by her mother, Joan, and children, Grace and Max, her brother Ted, Jr., and his wife, Kiki, her brother Patrick and his wife Amy, her step-mother Victoria Reggie Kennedy and her step-siblings, Curran Raclin and Caroline Raclin. She is also survived by aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews and numerous first cousins who mourn her tragic and untimely loss. Visiting hours will be on Tuesday, September 20, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m at Gawler's Funeral Home, 5130 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC, and the funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, September 21, at 9:30 a.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 3513 N Street NW, Washington, DC. There will be a private burial. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the N Street Village (www.nstreetvillage.org) or the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate (www.emkinstitute.org), two organizations close to Kara's heart.

Published in The Boston Globe on Sept. 20, 2011
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