While officials worked to discover the cause friends remember Bedford resident Mary Richardson Kennedy in life as an energetic professional and warm, caring individual.
"She was very easy to talk to and so supportive of our work," said Brian Skanes, executive director of the in Mt. Kisco. Kennedy was involved in the nonprofit organization for several years as a volunteer on the club's annual fundraising dinner. When she heard about the club's Youth of the Year awards, she volunteered to host the event at her home.
An accomplished architect, Kennedy led the renovations on her home on South Bedford Road, which included several ecologically-friendly designs.
"For several weeks leading up to the dinner I visited her at home, which was still under construction, and I'd say 'Mary, will this be ready?' and she'd smile and assure me. , it was beautiful. She was just a warm and caring person," said Skanes.
Kennedy was Wednesday in a barn behind her house by . The Westchester County Medical Examiner's Office afternoon that the cause of her death was asphyxiation by hanging.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Mary Richardson Kennedy were married in 1994, and filed for divorce in 2010, shortly after Mary Kennedy involving prescription drugs and alcohol. The couple had four children together.
A private wake is planned and a funeral is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday at in Bedford.
Locals say she should be remembered not for her recent troubles, but for her kindness and generous commitment to local causes.
"We are so saddened to learn about the passing of Mary," said Mary Beth Kass, co-chair of , an organization dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainable practices. Kennedy participated in the nonprofit's first energy advisory forum in 2007 and has supported its efforts toward home energy efficiency.
"She was such a lovely, warm and gracious person and was always willing to assist us with our environmental goals," said Kass. "She shared her experience and photos of their beautiful green home renovation—that forum was the beginning of Bedford's focus on home energy efficiency. Mary's generosity, approachability and willingness to share her personal environmental efforts with our community has done a lot to addvance Bedford 2020's goals. We are grateful and will miss having her as our Bedford neighbor."
Peter Michaelis, Bedford resident and longtime friend of Kennedy, yesterday remembered her as a "caring friend," and "someone who was always there for you." The two knew each other as teens in Washington D.C. and later, as fellow college students at Brown University.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced by the family.