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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

Beau Biden: 1969-2015

Former Delaware Attorney General and Delaware Army National Guard Major Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, has died after succumbing to brain cancer, the Vice President’s office has announced. He was only forty-six.

“It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life,” said the Vice President in a statement sent to NPI by the White House.

Beau Biden speaking on the campaign trail

Beau Biden speaking on the campaign trail (Photo courtesy of Chris Coons for Senate)

“The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words,” the Vice President continued. “We know that Beau’s spirit will live on in all of us—especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter.

“Beau’s life was defined by service to others. As a young lawyer, he worked to establish the rule of law in war-torn Kosovo. A major in the Delaware National Guard, he was an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star.”

“As Delaware’s Attorney General, he fought for the powerless and made it his mission to protect children from abuse. More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. Beau embodied my father’s saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.”

“In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.”

Beau Biden keynotes embassy dedication

On March 22nd, 2012, U.S. Ambassador Mark H. Gitenstein officially dedicated the new Embassy in Bucharest, Romania. The ceremony included a ribbon-cutting and the unveiling of a plaque that has been placed on the main entrance to the Embassy. The keynote speaker for the event was Delaware Attorney General Joseph R. “Beau” Biden, III. (Photo: United States Embassy Romania)

President Barack Obama added a lengthy statement of his own expressing his family’s profound sadness and condolences to the Bidens.

“Michelle and I are grieving tonight,” the President said. “Beau Biden was a friend of ours.  His beloved family – Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter – are friends of ours. And Joe and Jill Biden are as good as friends get.”

“Beau took after Joe. He studied the law, like his dad, even choosing the same law school. He chased a life of public service, like his dad, serving in Iraq and as Delaware’s Attorney General. Like his dad, Beau was a good, big-hearted, devoutly Catholic and deeply faithful man, who made a difference in the lives of all he touched – and he lives on in their hearts. But for all that Beau Biden achieved in his life, nothing made him prouder; nothing made him happier; nothing claimed a fuller focus of his love and devotion than his family.”

“Just like his dad.”

“Joe is one of the strongest men we’ve ever known.  He’s as strong as they come, and nothing matters to him more than family.  It’s one of the things we love about him.  And it is a testament to Joe and Jill – to who they are – that Beau lived a life that was full; a life that mattered; a life that reflected their reverence for family.”

“The Bidens have more family than they know.  In the Delaware they love.  In the Senate Joe reveres.  Across this country that he has served for more than forty years.  And they have a family right here in the White House, where hundreds of hearts ache tonight – for Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter; for Joe and for Jill; for Beau’s brother, Hunter; his sister, Ashley, and for the entire Biden clan.”

“‘I have believed the best of every man,’ wrote the poet William Butler Yeats, ‘And find that to believe it is enough to make a bad man show him at his best or even a good man swing his lantern higher.'”

“Beau Biden believed the best of us all.  For him, and for his family, we swing our lanterns higher. Michelle and I humbly pray for the good Lord to watch over Beau Biden, and to protect and comfort his family here on Earth.”

All of us at NPI are saddened to hear of the death of Beau Biden, and we extend our deepest condolences to the Second Family, as well as the First Family. Beau Biden was an exemplary public servant, an accomplished soldier, and a loving father. His death is a great loss for Delaware and for the United States of America.

Beau Biden was born February 3rd, 1969, as the first child of Joe Biden and Neilia Hunter. His mother Neilia and sister Naomi Christina Biden tragically died in 1972 in a car crash, in which he and his brother Hunter were also critically injured.

Like his father, he was educated at Archmere Academy. He later attended the University of Pennsylvania and Syracuse University College of Law. After graduating, he went to work for the Department of Justice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ultimately becoming a federal prosecutor. He was briefly a partner in the law firm of Bifferato, Gentilotti, Biden & Balick before winning election as the forty-fourth attorney general of Delaware in 2006. He served two terms and had been planning to run for governor to succeed Jack Markell next year.

Beau Biden at the 2012 DNC

Beau Biden at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. (Photo by NPI’s good friend Al Garman, reproduced with permission)

At both the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions, Beau delivered memorable and stirring speeches introducing his father Joe Biden. I can well remember watching those introductory remarks — they were compelling.

Beau Biden was widely admired and respected in his home state of Delaware, as can be seen from the outpouring of grief in response to his passing. He will be sorely missed. Tonight, our prayers and deepest sympathies are with all who knew him well, especially the family and good friends that he leaves behind.

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One Comment

  1. From all accounts, Beau was a great man. What a loss for America, Delaware, and especially the Biden family.

    # by Sherman C. Stone :: June 9th, 2015 at 5:17 AM