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

Vice President's mother dies at 92


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.


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.”


Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. Martin

    Dear. Mr. Vice President Biden and Mrs. Biden, we want to express our prayers, and sympathy to you and your family. God bless your mother.

    January 8, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. Donkey Party

    My condolences Mr.Vice President on your loss. Sorry for your loss as well, Mary @ 4:42pm. Either the right-wingers are staying away from this, or there are still a few decent ones left that posted someting sincere. I'd like to believe the latter... Peace to all, Left, Right and Center.

    January 8, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. Republican_from_VA

    My prayers are with Vice President Biden and his family

    January 8, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. Gravina

    My heartfelt condolences to Vice President Biden and his family.
    God Bless you all.

    January 8, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. Joan, Las Vegas

    Irish eyes are smilin'

    May you rest in peace Momma Biden. You did us proud by raising an outstanding boy, man, father, son, senator and Vice President. America loves you.

    January 8, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  6. C.K.

    My heart goes out to you Mr. Biden. My family and I are very sorry for your loss. Deepest sympathies.

    January 8, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. Raymond H. Burgoon-Clark

    May the Angels lead her into Paradise; may the Martyrs come to welcome her on her way, and lead her into the Holy City, Jerusalem; may choirs of Angels welcome her, and with Lazarus, who once was poor, may she have everlasting rest. Amen.

    January 8, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  8. Raymond H. Burgoon-Clark

    A Prayer of Father Bede Jarrett

    We give her back to thee, dear Lord,
    who gavest her to us;
    Yet as thou dost not lose er in giving,
    so we have not lost her by her return.
    Not as the world giveth, givest thou, O Lover of Souls.

    What thou gavest, thou takest not away,
    For what is thine is ours also if we are thine.

    And Life is eternal
    and Love is immortal,
    and death is only an horizon,
    and an horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.

    Lift us up, strong Son of God, that we may see further;
    Cleanse our eyes that we may see more clearly;
    Draw us closer to thyself
    so that we may know ourselves
    to be nearer to our loved ones who are with thee.
    And while thou dost prepare a place for us,
    prepare us also for that happy place,
    that where thou art we may be also for evermore. Amen.

    January 8, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  9. Saddened

    My condolences to Joe Biden and Family.

    January 8, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  10. Michael from Ventura

    My condolences to the Vice President and his family. During the campaign I got a real kick out of her humor. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    January 8, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  11. whaley41

    Condolences to the Biden family.

    January 8, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  12. Dodd Democrat...

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the Biden family

    January 8, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  13. candy Wilson

    My deepest sympathies to the Biden Family.. what an adorable woman . I am sure the love of Jesus will help you all.. May you enjoy your wonderful memories..We will pray for you..

    January 8, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. wvgal

    My heartfelt condolences to the Biden family for their loss.

    January 8, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  15. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Mrs Biden looked so beautiful in that bright red dress. What a wonderful memory of a wonderful woman.

    January 8, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  16. sm

    Condolences to the Bidens

    January 8, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  17. Shelly

    Heartfelt condolences to our VP Biden and family. A mother's love and spirit remains in her child's heart for eternity.

    January 8, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  18. Anne

    God bless you and your family Mr. Vice-President. And may the wind be at you mum's back as she journeys to Him.

    Prayers to you and yours, Mary @ 4:41 p.m. I hope you find comfort in the wonderful memories of you Dad.

    January 8, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  19. Orange Curtain, CA

    Sorry to hear about your loss Mr. Biden. Glad at least she was able to live to see her son make it to V.P.

    January 8, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  20. manny

    One wonders what the comments would be here if someone on the other side of the political aisle suffered the same sad loss. Especially since the elevation of Obama and Biden.

    January 8, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  21. Steve (the real one)

    I'm really sorry to hear about the Biden familiy's loss. Folks we only get one mom and life is too short for strained relationships!

    January 8, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  22. Norhtwest 4 Obama/Biden

    Glad she was here to see the last couple years she is not gone she is just away and will live in the hearts of all that knew her and for the ones that seen her during the campaign ?election.
    Joe we all know she did a great job all those years / we send love to you and your family.

    January 8, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  23. Ellie

    May the Lord keep her in his merciful arms and guide her to a restful sleep.

    January 8, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  24. Judith Vega

    My deepest sympathy Mr. Vice President to you and your family. Your mother was a wonderful women, and her spirit will live forever. May God bring you comfort at this time of sorrow.

    January 8, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  25. m smith

    Mr Bidden is a class act . He has always been a regular Joe and a friend to the average man. Codolences to you and your family.

    January 8, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
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