Joseph Biden Sr., 86, father of the senator

Posted: September 03, 2002

Joseph Robinette Biden Sr., 86, father of Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D., Del.), died yesterday at the senator's home in the Wilmington suburbs after a long illness.

Mr. Biden was born in Baltimore on Nov. 18, 1915. His family moved to Wilmington, where he attended St. Paul's School and Wilmington High School. He graduated from St. Thomas Academy in Scranton.

During World War II, Mr. Biden was an executive with a Boston factory that supplied plastic hulls, a special waterproof sealant applied to all U.S. merchant marine ships built during the war. After the war, he co-owned an airport and crop-dusting service on Long Island.

In 1953, he moved his family to Claymont, Del. He was a sales manager for several Wilmington automobile dealerships and worked for 15 years in real estate condominium sales in New Castle County and Rehoboth Beach for the Patterson-Schwartz agency.

His eldest son, Joseph, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972, and will run for his sixth term in November.

Mr. Biden is survived by his wife of 61 years, Jean Finnegan Biden; three sons: Sen. Biden, James B. and Francis W.; a daughter, Valerie Biden Owens; 10 grandchildren; and three great grandchildren.

A viewing will be held tomorrow from 5 to 9 p.m. at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church, 10 Old Church Rd. in Greenville, Del. A Mass of Christian Burial will be said at the church at 9 a.m. Thursday. Burial will follow in St. Joseph on the Brandywine Cemetery.

The family suggests contributions to the Biden Scholarship Fund at Archmere Academy or to First State Hospice of Wilmington.

Contact Tom Turcol at 856-779-3854 or

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