EXPIRED: 01/08/10 – Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Biden, 92, was a small but strong willed matriarch of the Biden family, mother of the current Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden.
She would tell her son when he was small and feeling inadequate because of his speech impediment: “Remember Joey, you’re a Biden. Nobody is better than you. You’re not better than anybody else, but nobody is better than you.”
Born and raised in Scranton, Pa., Jean Finnegan married Joseph Robinette Biden Sr. in 1941. They had four children: sons Joe Jr., James and Francis and daughter Valerie. The family spent the vice president’s early years in Scranton. When Joe Sr. had trouble finding a job there, the family moved to Claymont where he found work selling cars.
Joe Sr. was the breadwinner but Jean was the center of the family. “She taught all of her children that family is to be treasured, loyalty is paramount and faith will guide you through the tough times,” the vice president said in a statement. “She believed in us, and because of that, we believed in ourselves.”
Although the trials in Joe Biden’s life became greater and more complex as an adult, Jean Biden remained an inspiration and source of strength. She was by her son’s side as he mourned the loss of his wife and daughter, recovered from a life-threatening brain aneurysm and built a 38-year political career that culminated last year when he achieved the highest office ever held by a Delawarean.
Word’s she lived by: “A man’s word is his bond. You give your word, you keep it.”