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Published May 18 2012

Amid apparent family rift, wake held for Mary Kennedy, estranged wife of RFK Jr.

BEDFORD, N.Y. — The two sides of Mary Richardson Kennedy's grieving family faced off in court Friday, just hours before she was mourned at a wake at the estate where she committed suicide.

Details of the legal dispute were sealed by a judge, but it came as the Kennedy and Richardson families were finalizing arrangements for separate memorial services for the 52-year-old architect and environmentalist, who hanged herself Wednesday. Mary and Robert Kennedy had been going through a lengthy, contested divorce.

Relatives, friends including “Curb Your Enthusiasm” creator-star Larry David and “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King, and other mourners — so many that some had to park on nearby side streets — converged Friday evening on the brick mansion in suburban Bedford. Floral deliveries and vans full of people arrived as two police cars were stationed at end of the long driveway, keeping reporters at a distance.

“Everyone loved her. She was part of our family,” brother-in-law Douglas Kennedy said as he left the gathering. “She was the most organized, fun-loving person. ... She loved for everyone to be together, which is what we're trying to do.”

As for the seeming rift between the families, he said only that his late sister-in-law wouldn't have wanted to see her relatives fight and added, “We're all just trying to stay together.”