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Mary Kennedy Was Active in Bedford, Mount Kisco

BEDFORD, N.Y. – Bedford resident Mary Richardson Kennedy was a woman of many talents and interests, and involved herself heartily in the Bedford and Mount Kisco communities.

The estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. committed suicide Wednesday by hanging herself Wednesday in an outbuilding at her Bedford home.

At the age of 52, Mary Kennedy left behind four children who range in age from 10 to 17. Though she and her husband went their separate ways in 2010, Mary Kennedy remained devoted to the missions of community environmental groups and causes like Bedford 2020 , an initiative with the goal to reduce the town's production of greenhouse gases by 20 percent by the year 2020.

Described in a statement by the Richardson family as having a "radiant and creative spirit," Kennedy was an advocate of environmentally sustainable housing and a green builder herself.

She spoke at a recent 2020 meeting in the company of Bedford builder Kevin Brenner about her work as a green architect.

Kennedy, who once worked for the prestigious New York design firm Parish-Hadley Associates, also designed her own sustainable home in Bedford , the Kennedy Greenhouse, and documented its construction on a website .

Kennedy was also a panelist for the Green Homes workshop at the 2009 Bedford Environmental Summit, along with local Energy Star contractor Joseph Malcarne and architect Patrick Brennan.

The panel spoke about how to plan, design and construct or renovate a home with a focus on indoor air quality, energy savings and green building materials.

Olivia Farr, senior vice president and treasurer of Bedford 2020, said Kennedy did a wonderful job as as volunteer at the summit.

“My experience of her was that she was just a lovely, generous person who really put her heart and soul into environmental issues and children’s health issues," Farr said.

The Richardson family statement said that Kennedy loved her children "without reservation." She also worked with children in her role as a longtime volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester in Mount Kisco.

Kennedy was a celebrity resident who was often seen out and about in her community, such as at the local French-American bistro Café of Love .

Leslie Lampert, owner of the Mount Kisco restaurant and farm-to-kitchen food shop Ladle of Love, said Kennedy was a loyal customer for years. “She was just a really kind and lovely person and a great customer,” Lampert said.

Kennedy was a graduate of Brown University and a professional whitewater rafting guide.

She was also active in the clean water advocacy group Waterkeeper Alliance , which her husband, an environmental lawyer, founded, as well as river protection agency Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council .

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