Neilia Hunter
image source

Tragedy and death, in particular, is no respecter of anyone as it is one thing that both the rich and poor have in common. When it is the death of a loved one, those left behind find ways to cope with the unbearable loss. Joe Biden is one individual who has felt the loss of a loved one more than once, most severely that of his first wife Neilia Hunter. According to him, he has been able to draw strength to forge ahead from his very supportive family.

After the death of Neilia with whom he had 3 children, he was able to find love again with Jill Biden and has been able to build a life with her despite his terrible loss early in life.

Who Was Neilia Hunter?

Neilia Hunter was the daughter of some respectable diner owners in New York upstate. While her actual birth date is unknown, she is known to have been born in the early 1940s. Neilia met Joe who was then a law student at Syracuse University on a spring break trip to the Bahamas in 1964. They were married two years later and went on to have three children; their first child Beau on the 3rd of February 1969, their second child Hunter on the 4th of February 1970, and their third child Naomi on the 8th of November 1971.

Joe has described Neilia Hunter as his greatest ally and best friend. He has also been quite vocal about their sex life and has described her as his very sensuous lover. It is obvious how great they were in bed as their three children were born barely a year apart.

Neilia Hunter
Neilia Hunter and her family – image source

How Did Joe Biden’s First Wife Die?

While the family was rejoicing over Joe’s new Senatorial election in 1972, the newly elected Senator went to the office to interview prospective employees to fill in vacancies while Neilia and the children went Christmas shopping.

According to reports, on the 18th of December 1972, her vehicle was hit by a truck carrying corncobs. For reasons unknown, Neilia was holding the baby (Naomi) and was in the way of a truck driven by Curtis C. Dunn which was coming down a long hill. Although she had a stop sign, the truck driver did not.

Neilia, whose face was turned away from the oncoming truck drove into its path and was killed alongside their baby girl in the fatal accident. Beau and Hunter also suffered serious injuries which they both recovered from after spending months in the hospital.

Joe spoke about receiving that phone call informing him that his wife and daughter were dead and they weren’t sure his sons would live. This changed the course of his life forever.

Moreover, the family of the now-deceased truck driver has accused Joe Biden of sensationalizing the tragic incident by implying that Dunn was drunk. According to the report, there was no drinking report and Dunn wasn’t accused of any wrongdoing.

How Neilia Hunter’s Death Affected Biden

Grief has different impacts on people. While talking about the impact of the loss of his wife and baby, Joe reiterated that the loss gave him an inkling into why people committed suicide. Especially when you knew in your heart that things will never be the same again. He described the loss as very deep and the grief like dwelling in a black hole.

Joe has been able to find the silver lining in his terrible loss. He doesn’t shy away from talking about his loss and has encouraged people who have experienced the loss of a loved one to keep thinking what that person would want them to do and continue to forge ahead with it as things will always get better.

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Joe has also been sincere enough to admit that the accident helped him forge an incredible bond with his children. He found his redemption by focusing on his sons.

Things did later get better for the man himself as he met Jill (his second wife) in 1977 and got married to her after much persuasion from his end. He later welcomed another daughter named Ashley with Jill in 1981.

Moreover, tragic losses are not a one-off happening. No matter how hard they knock you out the first time, they can reoccur and knock one out flat again. Joe experienced another loss in 2015 after Beau, his first son with Neilia Hunter died of brain cancer.

In his 2017 book, Joe wrote about his grief and explained that although the pain seemed unbearable at first, he survived the punishing ordeal with the support of his family. He has made it a personal duty to speak to people in mourning as they understand that he speaks from experience and a place of understanding of the depth of their pain.

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