January 8th, 2010
05:22 PM ET
5 years ago

Vice President's mother dies at 92

ALT TEXT

Jean Biden stands with her son, Vice President Joe Biden, next to President Obama and his mother-in-law, Marian Anderson, on election night in 2008. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/File)

(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden on Friday announced the death of his mother, Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Finnegan Biden. She was 92.

Biden said his mother died Friday at the family's home in Wilmington, Delaware, surrounded by loved ones.

"At 92, she was the center of our family and taught all of her children that family is to be treasured, loyalty is paramount and faith will guide you through the tough times. She believed in us, and because of that, we believed in ourselves," Biden said in a statement.

The vice president's father, Joseph Robinette Biden Sr., who was married to Jean Biden for 61 years, died in 2002.

(Vice President Biden's statement, as released by the White House, after the jump)

In his acceptance speech in August 2008 for the Democratic vice presidential nomination, Biden said of his mother: "She believes that bravery lives in every heart, and her expectation is that it will be summoned. Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable."

"As a child, I stuttered, and she lovingly would look at me and tell me, 'Joey, it's because you're so bright you can't get the thoughts out quickly enough,'" he said. "When I was not as well-dressed as the other kids, she'd look at me and say, 'Joey, oh, you're so handsome, honey, you're so handsome.'

"And when I got knocked down by guys bigger than me - and this is the God's truth - she sent me back out and said, 'Bloody their nose so you can walk down the street the next day.' And that's what I did."

In addition to the vice president, her eldest son, Jean Biden is survived by sons James Biden of Pennsylvania and Francis Biden of Florida, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release

January 8, 2010

Statement from Vice President Joe Biden

“My mother, Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Finnegan Biden, passed away peacefully today at our home in Wilmington, Delaware, surrounded by her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and many loved ones. At 92, she was the center of our family and taught all of her children that family is to be treasured, loyalty is paramount and faith will guide you through the tough times. She believed in us, and because of that, we believed in ourselves. Together with my father, her husband of 61 years who passed away in 2002, we learned the dignity of hard work and that you are defined by your sense of honor. Her strength, which was immeasurable, will live on in all of us.”

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Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. David in Houston

    My condolences, Mr. Biden.

    January 8, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. thanks, but no thanks

    My deepest condolences to Vice President Biden and his family. May she rest in peace...

    January 8, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Jane/Seattle

    My condolences to the Biden family and to mary below in these postings. Rest well.

    January 8, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Sympathies and Condolences to Vice President and family from ours .

    January 8, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. ugogrl

    Condolences to Vice President Joe Biden and family!

    January 8, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  6. Independent

    Many thoughts and prayers to the Biden family...There is a very shiny new star in the Heavens tonight...God Bless...

    January 8, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. David

    Another loss of the "Greatest Generation of Americans" that ever was; a lost to all of us. My condolences to the Vice President and his family

    January 8, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. Lloyd in Montana

    God Bless you and your family.

    January 8, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. Craig Church

    Mr. Vice President,

    Very sorry to hear of your loss, sir. I understand all too well what it is like to lose your mother. God bless you and keep you, Mr. Biden.

    January 8, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. satish

    Great Woman words from Great Woman. May her soul rest in peace

    January 8, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. Terrence

    Our prayers from Milwaukee, WI are with you and your family

    January 8, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. Jane

    God Bless you Joe, and thanks to your mom for doing such a great job with you!

    January 8, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. satish

    Great Words from Great Woman, May her soul rest in peace.

    January 8, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. always proud dem in nc

    . My condolences Mr. Biden and family. May she rest in perfect peace.

    January 8, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. Lisa M.

    May this good lady rest in peace. My prayers are with the Biden family.

    January 8, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  16. silvertrueone

    Our condolences to your family

    January 8, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  17. Justen

    my condolences to him and his family.

    January 8, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. michelle atencio

    So sorry for your lost, I pray that God will give you and your family peace in your hearts mind and soul...Your Mother was so cute during the whole presidental race...She's has gone away a very proud Mama God Bless you.

    January 8, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  19. coffeepot

    Condolences to the Bidens. What a sweet lady she was.

    January 8, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Mlhall

    My Condolences to the Bidens Family, May your mother rest in peace!

    January 8, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. VP Fam

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the Biden family. Be Blessed!

    January 8, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  22. Marsha

    May God Bless and comfort you and your family Vice President Biden

    January 8, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. Karen

    My condolences to the Vice President and his family...

    January 8, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. Dawn

    My heatfelt sympathies to Vice President Biden and his family during this most difficult time. I also lost my mother a few months ago and, although unwell, was devastating. May God keep you and your family!

    January 8, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. Mary

    Mr. Vice President,
    My condolences goes out 2 u and your family ,may God bless you all.

    January 8, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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