WASHINGTON -- Kara Kennedy, the oldest of three children of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, was remembered at funeral services yesterday as a thoughtful friend and devoted mother who had a mischievous side like her father.

During services at Holy Trinity Church in Washington, her brothers remembered her as an avid swimmer and someone who sent cards in the mail with newspaper clippings enclosed rather than emails with attachments. Her brother Patrick Kennedy said he pictured his sister and their father, who died in 2009, sailing off into "the starry skies together."

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"Dad now has his first mate, his crew right by his side, helping him along the way," said Patrick Kennedy, who until recently was a congressman from Rhode Island.

Kara Kennedy died Friday after a workout at a Washington health club. The 51-year-old was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2002 but underwent successful surgery and treatment. Patrick Kennedy said after her death that her cancer treatment left her physically weakened and that her heart gave out. The medical examiner has not yet released an official cause of death.

Among those attending the funeral were Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, and relatives Caroline Kennedy and Maria Shriver.

Though she never sought elected office herself, Kara Kennedy appeared with her father during his unsuccessful 1980 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, and she and her brother Ted Kennedy Jr. helped run the senator's re-election campaign in 1988.

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A graduate of Tufts University, she was a board member for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, and also worked as a filmmaker and television producer, including producing videos for Very Special Arts, an organization founded by her aunt Jean Kennedy Smith.