Delaware Lawmakers Mourn Loss of Beau Biden

OCEAN VIEW, Del - Beau Biden, an Iraq War veteran who served as the attorney general of Delaware and was a son of Vice President Joe Biden, died of brain cancer Saturday. He was 46.

Whether it was one about his family-orientated nature, his personable spirit, or his drive to do the right thing, Biden touched countless lives from those in Delaware to those abroad.

On Sunday afternoon, Delaware lawmakers shared some of their stories about Biden at a Democratic fundraiser in Sussex County.

Joseph R. Biden III was known for a lot of things in his lifetime.

The First State's attorney general, a major in the Delaware National Guard, and most famously, son of the vice president of the United States.

But most just knew him as Beau: a husband, a father, a son.

Biden was undergoing treatment for brain cancer at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda. He spent time at a cancer center in Texas in 2013 after feeling weak during a family vacation. Doctors removed what was described as a small lesion from his brain.

Biden had also suffered what his doctors called a mild stroke in 2010 during his first term as Attorney General.

The Biden family issued a statement late Saturday night May 30, that the Vice President's oldest son had died after battling brain cancer. 

At the 38th District Picnic in the Park, a democratic fundraiser held in Ocean View Sunday, state lawmakers shared stories about Biden and the legacy he leaves behind in Delaware.

Chairman of the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission, Bob Wheatley says Biden supported him early on in his political career.

"When I first had political aspirations he immediately came to my aid. He would mention my name when he was speaking to groups in Sussex County. He did all manner of things that he really didn't have to do. So I'll always remember him for that. It was just a very sad day yesterday to have lost Beau."

U.S. Rep. for Delaware, Congressman John Carney, said he's grieving as it's yet another tragedy the Biden family must now face.

"lt's an incredibly sad day for Delaware. You know we knew Beau from the time when he was first introduced to Delaware as a little toddler, just after the accident that killed his mother and his baby sister. And the Vice President, I'm sure his heart is broken because he's held those two boys and his kids so tightly because of that accident."

It's the second major loss for Vice President Joe Biden. The strong bond between them may have fueled the younger Biden's purpose to be a champion for children in Delaware.

Dr. Eric West, Chairman of the 38th Electoral District of the Democratic Committee, says that public father-son bond is what made Biden a special kind of family man.

"Most of all I think Mr. Biden impressed me as being very devoted to his family. And he was very close to his dad too. That seemed to be pretty obvious. You know that's the kind of things that make you feel good about a person."

Delaware State Senator Bryan Townsend worked with Biden on a number of firearm bills while he served as Attorney General. But Townsend says what was most memorable about his time working with Biden was his passion for protecting children.

"I think [Biden's] imprint on Delaware policies is largely in child protection. That was the main area that he really focused on which is perfect because those are some of our most vulnerable citizens."

Delaware House Speaker Peter Schwartzkopf, who has known and worked with the Biden family for decades, agrees that Beau Biden's legacy in Delaware will be about his fight to protect children.

"I think his tenure as Attorney General will be known for the protections he put in place for children, to protect children from child pornography and sexual assault. His work that he did with the Bradley case. A lot of people don't know this, but he had an opportunity after his first term to go to Washington D.C, and he made the right decision on that one. He decided not to go. He put the Bradley victims and their needs and concerns ahead of his own."

And putting the needs of others ahead of his own is where Biden thrived. Not only in Delaware but abroad as well when he served in Afghanistan with the Delaware National Guard.

Once again, House Speaker Schwartzkopf.

"A lot of people don't know that he could've probably done stateside service and not gone. And he said, 'No. I'm no different than anybody else.'"

It was overwhelmingly clear at Sunday's fundraiser that Biden left his mark on those he knew.

Once again, Chairman Wheatley.

"He was a lot of fun to be around. And he would always go out of his way. If he saw you from across the street or across the room he would work his way around to get there just to say hello, shake your hand, ask you how you're doing. He was always glad to see you."

And Congressman Carney.

"An incredible leader, an incredible public servant, so it's really a very sad day. Feel like I have a hole in my heart because of his loss."

Biden leaves behind his wife Hallie, their two children Natalie age 11, Hunter age 9, his siblings and his parents Joe and Jill.

WBOC 16 News | Posted: May 31, 2015 7:59 PM EDT