Mary Richardson Kennedy remembered at private memorial in NYC

In this 2005 photo provided by Peter Michaelis, Mary Richardson Kennedy poses for a photo outside her Bedford, N.Y. home. Kennedy, the estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who had fought drug and alcohol problems, was found dead in her home Wednesday, May 16, 2012. She was 52. (AP Photo/Peter T. Michaelis)
Peter T. Michaelis
Mary Richardson Kennedy poses for a photo outside her home in Bedford, N.Y., in 2005.
AP/Peter T. Michaelis

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - Mary Richardson Kennedy, the estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., was remembered for her generosity of spirit by family and friends at a private memorial Monday.

The 52-year-old was found dead last week at her home, of an apparent suicide.

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The event, held at the Standard Hotel in Manhattan, was hosted by the Richardson family. It was closed to the media.

"I think it was one of the most amazing memorials I've ever been to in terms of the level of affection," said Linda Crowley, 59, of Madison, N.J. "It was incredible."

Crowley, a friend of the Richardson family and an editor at Town & Country magazine, said a slide show of photographs of Mary played during the nearly two-hour memorial, which was attended by many of Mary's friends, including sister-in-law Kerry Kennedy.

Crowley said participants avoided any mention of Mary's troubles, but talked about her beauty and intelligence. "The feeling I got was that everybody was amazed at her generosity."

Attendees were given a memorial card, the front of which had a photo of the architect, environmentalist and mother. It said: "In celebration of her radiant life."

On the back were the words of English theologian Henry Scott Holland: "Death is nothing at all ... Nothing is past, nothing is lost/One brief moment and all will be as it was before/How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again."

A funeral for Mary Kennedy was held Saturday in Bedford, N.Y., a hamlet north of New York City where she lived. Burial was at a cemetery in Centerville, Mass., several miles from the Kennedy seaside compound in Hyannis Port.

Mary Richardson married into the Kennedy family in 1994. She had four children with Robert, the son of assassinated U.S. senator and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, but the couple separated years ago. He filed for divorce in 2010. The case was pending when she died.

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After the split, her internal struggles became public when she was arrested twice on charges of driving while intoxicated. In preparations for her funeral, one of her brothers went to court to request custody of her body, which could have spoiled the Kennedy plan to bury her near the family compound.

Robert Kennedy and a lawyer for the Richardson family were in court Friday arguing the case, before Mary's body was released to her husband. A judge sealed the case.