January 8th, 2010
05:22 PM ET
4 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. Jazzy

    My condolences to the Biden family. Although I do not know the family personally, I sensed there was an abundance of adoration between mother and son. Biden made his mom PROUD! God Bless.

    January 8, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. NH

    My sincere condolences to the vice president and his family. May she rest in peace.

    January 8, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. Brooke82

    Vice President Biden:

    Sending you and your family thoughts of peace. Your mother is with her husband now, and I know she is so proud of you.

    Brooke
    Dallas, TX

    January 8, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  4. Loren

    You and your family made the nation proud but most important, you made your mother proud. She is beaming from Heaven over you.

    January 8, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  5. W l Jones

    The dept of one mind and soul come through his or her mother. My condolence to the Bidens family.

    January 8, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. MT

    While I have many opinions which differ from VP Biden, my families thoughts and prayers for his family. RIP Jean Biden

    January 8, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. Carol

    Condolences to Vice President Biden. I know your Mom was so proud of you.

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

    My condolences to Vice President Joe Biden and his family. By the way, the photo cutline is incorrect. That is President Obama and his mother-in-law – not the First Lady.

    January 8, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  9. Ed

    That's a very long life and something to be proud of. It's also a good sign for the VP with the longevity in his family. It's almost 4 years to the day since my grandmother passed on @ 93. She must have been a gem.

    January 8, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. GJ

    So sad :(

    January 8, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. Lori

    I send my condolences to the VP and his family. God bless.

    January 8, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Mother's like Joe Biden don't come along every day. Rest in peace, Jean Biden. My sympathy, Mr. Biden.

    January 8, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  13. S Callahan God help America!

    Anotehr angel has been added to the Lord's army....

    VP Biden and family, May you know God's comfort through this journey and may your grief be short lived knowing where she is now.

    January 8, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. A.Darton

    Vice President Biden....you and your family are in my prayers. You seem to be a loving family and that love and faith will get you through this. May God be with you all.

    January 8, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  15. Thankful

    Go in peace Jean Biden, your influence on our people was remarkable.

    January 8, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. Mike - Las Vegas

    My sincerest condolences to Vice President Biden and his family.

    January 8, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. D.D.

    My condolences to our Vice President and his family.
    Our nation will remember her and her son's tribute to her in Denver.
    Thank you for sharing her with us.

    January 8, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. LA Girl

    Mr. Biden,
    You are a treasure...honoring for your mother until the end. I lost my mother on 12-18-09. I understand your pain...May the Lord bless and keep you and yours.

    January 8, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. S Callahan God help America!

    Another angel has been added to the Lord's army....

    VP Biden and family, May you know God's comfort through this journey and may your grief be short lived knowing where she is now.

    January 8, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. jade

    Condolences to the Biden family. I am sorry for your loss.

    January 8, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. s

    God Bless Your Family during this sad time. There is no sadder loss to us than the loss of our mother and father. It's been 12 for my mom and 7 since my dad passed. I miss them each and every day!! Wishing your family comfort!

    January 8, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. Sam

    I'll never forget Mr. Biden telling the DNC audience that his mother told him to punch his school bullies in the nose when they harassed him. The camera focused on her, and you could tell she said "Yes I did". RIP Mama Biden.

    January 8, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. Saad

    May God bless her soul and give you and your family the courage to get over this tough time period.

    God Bless you all and our country and the world.

    January 8, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Lyn (Atlanta, GA)

    My most sincere condolences and prayers go out to the Biden family.

    January 8, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. Helene

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. May God bless your family and your mother. We are so sorry for your loss.

    January 8, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
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