If she left too early to see Joe Biden win the race for the White House this Saturday, November 7, Neilia Hunter was, however, an early support for the politician. Born July 28, 1942, this ex-student at Penn Hall boarding school in Pennsylvania turned to a career as a teacher after graduating from Syracuse University. Passing through the Bahamas for the spring break, she then met the young 46th President of the United States who, madly in love, decided to move to Syracuse to attend law school there. Their romance then led them straight to the altar: they said “yes” to each other for life on August 27, 1966.
Everything seemed to smile on the Biden clan then. Recruited to join the New Castle County Council in Delaware, the politician and his wife packed up to settle in Wilmington. There, Joe Biden was able to taste for the first time the joys of fatherhood with the birth of his three children, Robert Hunter (designated by his middle name on the front of the stage), Joseph Robinette said Beau Biden, and Naomi Biden. The happiness of a young father which he filled with a candidacy to overthrow the Republican senator from Delaware, J. Caleb Boggs. And, in this project, he had been able to count on the support of Neilia Hunter who, in the shadows, acted as the “brain” of this campaign. An affront to her family heritage: Neilia Hunter came from a fiercely Republican family. Despite everything, she allowed her beloved to win his place in the Senate.
Neilia Hunter, “a natural and easy beauty”
But on December 18, 1972, the drama struck Joe Biden in the heart. While at the wheel of the family car with their three children, an excursion organized to buy a Christmas tree, Neilia Hunter dies in a horrific traffic accident when a truck denies her priority. Only Beau and Hunter Biden survive this accident, the mother and little Naomi, only one year old, having lost their lives. The young widower was able to find a smile again with the one who became his second wife, Jill Biden, who knew Neilia Hunter well with whom she shared a common passion for teaching (she herself is an English teacher).
“She had an easy natural beauty,” she said of the deceased in her book Where The Light Enters. If she refused to marry Joe Biden four times (she finally said “yes” in 1977), for fear of not finding her place in the hearts of the children of her dear and loving, Jill Biden has, little by little , followed in Neilia Hunter’s footsteps. Joe Biden’s unwavering rock during his presidential campaign, she also took on the role of mother for Beau and Hunter, before welcoming her own daughter, Ashley. Even when the oldest of the Biden siblings died at the age of 46 from brain cancer on May 30, 2015.
Widowed at 30 © © KRISTIN CALLAHAN / ACE Pictures / KCS PRESSE