‘Beau is the finest man any of us have ever known,” said U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, and he is someone any parent could be proud of. Joseph “Beau” Biden III’s personal fight with brain cancer ended Saturday night, at age 46. He is survived by his wife Hallie, children Natalie and Hunter, brother Hunter and half-sister Ashley. The Vice-President and wife Dr. Jill Biden were also there for him.
“Beau is the finest man any of us have ever known,” said his father Joe Biden, and the younger Biden has proved his worth many times. Seen as a rising figure in U.S. Politics, Beau is the older son of Joe Biden. He was raised in Delaware, studied at University of Pennsylvania and attended Syracuse University’s law school.
At two years old, he lost his mother Neilia in a car accident at Christmastime in 1972, which also claimed the life of his one-year-old sister Naomi and left him and his brother Hunter injured. It was the time when his father Joe was elected as senator, at age 29.
Beau was elected attorney general in Delaware in 2006 and 2010. He served the office from 2007 to 2015. Beau was also a Democrat, just like his father. The younger Biden went after perpetrators of child sex crimes, as well as banks and lenders for perpetrating crooked loans. In 2014, he announced his plans to run for state governor next year.
He was deployed to Iraq in 2008 as a Delaware Army National Guard captain. There, he served in an administrative post for a year. When his father Joe became Obama’s running mate, he was a campaign surrogate, a fierce partisan who criticized Republicans for lack of honesty. His father tearfully listened to him delivering a speech in 2012 at the Democratic National Convention.
Vice President Joe was sworn in as a first-term senator at his sons’ bedside in the hospital. On What It Takes, Joe Biden’s political biography, author Richard Ben Cramer described him as a single parent. The then senator did not want anyone to raise his boys. “He was there every night, every weekend. They had stories at bedtime, games of catch on the lawn, outings, trips, places to go.” Years after, the vice president shared that during those trying times, he needed the boys more than they needed him.
In 1977, the former Jill Jacobs helped rebuild their family. She is an “incredible mother,” as CNN learned from Beau in 2012. Beau and his brother Hunter encouraged their father to remarry. Joe met Jill in 1975.
Beau suffered health issues since 2010, when he had a stroke which did not harm his speech and motor skills. In 2013, he became weak and disoriented while on vacation and sought treatment in Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He underwent surgery and seemed to regain his health. However, the cancer was back in spring. He underwent aggressive treatment at Maryland’s Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Beau disclosed in 2010 that while it can be expected of him and his father to talk much about politics in the family, it was quite the opposite. He shared they talk about family – his kids, his brother’s kids, his sister, and mostly not politics.
Ezra Klein of Vox said, Joe Biden’s public persona as a carefree, happy-go-lucky American politician is apart from what he really is. At age 29, he buried his wife and a child, but somehow, he managed to keep smiling. Known for his great speeches, the vice president addressed families of fallen soldiers on May 25, 2012 and described the lure of suicide when losing a loved one.
“Beau is the finest man any of us have ever known,” said his father Joe Biden, who saw him as one who measured his accomplishments more in the family. He added that Beau’s “absolute honor made him a role model in our family.” The elder Biden shared that a “parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.” When Joe Biden lost half of his family, his sons Beau and Hunter were the ones who “redeemed” him.
By Judith Aparri
CNN: Beau Biden, son of vice president and former Delaware AG, dies at 46
BBC: Joe Biden’s son Beau dies of brain cancer, aged 46
Vox: Joe Biden’s 2012 advice to grieving families is all the more poignant now
Photo courtesy of Mariano Cuajao’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License