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. morgino

    She was one of the highlights for me watching the convention. You could tell she was a tough lady with a sweet heart,

    January 8, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  2. Sherry

    Heart felt sympathies to the Biden family. Peace be with all of you.

    January 8, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. Robin

    My condolences to the Biden family.

    It is always hard to lose a parent, but take comfort in knowing she lived to be 92 and had a full life, with all the ups, downs, and joys.

    January 8, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. susan

    Oh Mary..... sorry to hear that.

    RIP to your dad and Mrs Biden.

    God bless.

    January 8, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. Robin

    CF, I'm a republican.

    I don't agree with Joe Biden's politics, but the man's mother DIED! So politics are set aside so condolences can be given.

    January 8, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Boyd Phillips

    God Bless Her.

    January 8, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. Angela

    My condolensences to Vice President Biden. Your mother must have been a wonderful woman to have raised such humble and family oriented man. May God bring you peace!

    January 8, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. T'SAH from Virginia

    My condolences goes out to the Bidens at this time of sorrow... May Catherine RIP!!

    January 8, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. Tom

    You're doing her proud, Joe!

    January 8, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    My condolences to Vice President Joe Biden, his family and all those who knew his mother. God bless her soul.

    January 8, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. moderate

    our sincere sympathy to the biden's family

    January 8, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. Justin

    My condolences to the Biden family for their loss.

    January 8, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. Joy

    May you be guided by the angels towards Heaven,Rest in peace.

    January 8, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. ym

    Thank you Mother Biden for our current VP. May you rest in peace.
    To the family, I am praying for you all.

    January 8, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. Bill from CA

    Very sorry to hear this. If it's any consolation, at least she was able to see her son sworn in as Vice-President of the United States. Condolences to the Biden family.

    January 8, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. Joy

    May the angels guide you towards your trip to Heaven.Rest in peace.

    January 8, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. Adrian Cavazos

    My sincere condolences to Joe Biden. Words can not express how shocked I was when I heard the sad news. Even though I did not know Jean personally, I know that she is now an angel and that her soul is at peace. I will keep Joe in my prayers and I pray that he is comforted with the fact that his mother's soul is in heaven.

    January 8, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. sunshine

    Be blessed as you are going through this time of sorrow.

    January 8, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  19. normajean

    My heart goes out to Joe....To most people, loss of "Mom" is just about the hardest knock of all. My mother was the dearest person I ever knew and we had her "till she was 96 yrs. We live on with memories Joe. Bless you.

    January 8, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. sue

    Best Wishes to the Biden family. Mrs. Biden had a wonderful long life.

    January 8, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  21. Emily

    I'm so sorry to you and your family Vice President Biden. Just think of how so very proud she is of what you and your family have done! My condolences go out to you at this time.

    January 8, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  22. Victoria

    God Bless the Biden family. Praise God for the wonderful blessing Jean Biden was to her family and our current Vice President.

    January 8, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  23. LALA

    She's a good Human and HER sense of humor was inmeasurable.
    MAY HER SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE"AMEN"She will be missed..

    January 8, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  24. carol

    my thoughts and prayers are with the Biden family. I lost my Mom this past July at 96. Be strong and know that she is watching you from a much better place.

    January 8, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  25. Marcelle

    My deepest sympathies and thoughts go out to the Biden family. I'm very sorry for their loss and know personally how difficult the loss of a parent is. Mrs. Biden sounds like she lived a wonderful, long life.

    January 8, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
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