Washington D.C.–While I am critical of Senator Joe Biden’s (D-Del) role as the principle architect of misguided federal domestic violence policy, I do him credit for the admirable way he raised his two young boys after his wife and infant daughter were killed in a tragic car accident. One biography of Biden explains:
Joe Biden never works on Dec.18.
It was one week before Christmas 1972, and the senator-elect from Delaware awaited his first term. There was plenty to celebrate as his wife and three kids left home to find a Christmas tree.
Biden was already in Washington. It was his sister Val who took the phone call, her face drained of color when she hung up and told him of “a slight accident.”
Biden thought immediately of his wife, Neilia. “She’s dead, isn’t she?” the politician asked.
As the Bidens were driving home in the family station wagon, their tree picked out, they were broad sided by a tractor-trailer. Neilia was killed, along with 13-month-old daughter, Naomi.
Sons Beau and Hunter, toddlers themselves, were critically injured. With their father’s constant care and attention, both recovered…
Biden, suddenly a single parent, devoted himself to the two boys. He took the Senate oath of office at their hospital bedsides in 1973 – at a time when Barack Obama was only a few years older than Biden’s sons. His dead wife’s father held the Bible he was sworn in on.
As the two boys grew up, doting dad Biden became known for taking the train home nightly from Washington to Delaware.
Biden eventually found love again, marrying schoolteacher Jill Tracy Jacobs in June 1977.
Daughter Ashley was born four years later.
Life went on, but Biden never forgot. The senator never works on Dec. 18.
Biden is pictured above as a young single father, with each of his boys in tow.