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. Debby

    Condolences and prayers for the Bidens.

    January 8, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. Bonnie

    My hearlfelt sympathy to the Biden family. God Bless you.

    January 8, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  3. ephraim

    say it ain't so joe...

    my deepest sympathy and condolences to you
    and your family.

    she was an amazing woman, full of life, great fortitude,
    raised her children to become decent, compassionate and servants for
    the public good and trust.

    we will miss her depth and charm, but are thrilled her legacy lives on in you and the history you are making everyday as you and the
    president shape our nation for years to come.

    blessing to you and yours....

    January 8, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  4. darrin

    condolences to Mr.biden & his family,may god be with you during this difficult time,remember, your mother is absent from the body& present with the lord.

    January 8, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  5. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    My condolences to VP Biden and his family.

    January 8, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  6. Cornell

    Mr. Vice President
    Be Blessed.

    My condolences to the Biden family for your loss.

    January 8, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. Barbara

    Joe and family, Deepest sympathy. We thank her for giving DE. our favorite Senator and our country a great VP. Rest in peace Mrs.Biden.

    January 8, 2010 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    She lived a long life - I'm sure it was good.

    Sorry for your loss Joe.

    January 8, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. Amy from MN

    My thoughts and prayers are with the Bidens during this difficult time.

    January 8, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  10. Brook E. Mantia

    I am so sorry for their loss. Blessings of peace and comfort for all her loved ones.

    January 8, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  11. I Am The Not-So-Great and Powerless Wizard of Rush

    My sympathy for the difficulty Vice President Biden and his family have to endure. Billy Joel is wrong (sometimes, the good live a long beautiful life)

    January 8, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. don

    my condolence to vice president Biden and family

    January 8, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  13. Ted

    It really warms my heart to hear Republicans putting aside politics to mourn for his loss. At least some civility remains in politics.
    Condolences to Joe and the whole Biden family.

    January 8, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  14. Joe

    God bless her. May she rest in peace.

    January 8, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  15. Baby Boomer

    I pray safe passage for Mrs. Biden. Peace and blessings to the VP and the rest of the Biden family...

    January 8, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  16. gerryluimes

    life is so frail,so tender,so precious.My deepest sympathy and support is going out to the V.P J.Biden !

    January 8, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  17. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    My thoughts and prayers are with Vice-President Biden and his family; a man that truly speaks from the heart! God Bless you all!

    January 8, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  18. gary davis harbor oregon

    so sorry for your lose mr. Biden . she will be greatly missed by all of america . and she was proud of you :)

    January 8, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  19. brownr

    Condolences to the Biden family.

    January 8, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  20. Jim

    Mr. VP, I am sorry for your loss. Its got to be tough to go through that and then come back to work just a few days later.

    January 8, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  21. Obama Mama

    VP and family you are in my prayers

    January 8, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  22. Lisa in GA

    My God continue to bless you and keep you in this difficult time is my prayer.

    January 8, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. pamela briggs

    My condolences to the Biden family for their loss.

    January 8, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  24. Teddy, CA

    May Mamma Biden rest in peace. She was a dear woman, and an absolute jewel at the Democratic National Convention. She can rest easy because her son is in good hands, with an administration that will make her proud.

    January 8, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  25. liberal in maine

    nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    January 8, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
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