In a 2008 campaign speech, Biden extolled the importance of children's taking care of their parents.
"Make sure your mother doesn't go without what she needs in her later years, or your father," he said in Wisconsin Sept. 8
The vice president often said that his mother "runs the show," depicting her as the classic matriarch of a large family that consisted of four children and over a dozen grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Mrs. Biden's husband, Joseph Biden Sr., died in 2002.
Mrs. Biden appeared to be in good health during the 2008 presidential campaign. She stood on stage with the extended Biden family after her son delivered perhaps his most important speech of his political career, accepting the vice presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Mrs. Biden even hit the campaign trail with her son, dropping by a picnic in the backyard of their old home in Scranton, Pa., on Labor Day. She voted with her son in Delaware on Election Day, walking hand-in-hand into the school where the polls were located and later joined the family on stage that night for the victory celebration in Chicago.
Biden said today that one of his mother's favorite pictures was from Election Night in Chicago in 2008 as they were about to go out onto the stage. She had Obama on one arm, her son on the other, prompting a granddaughter to say, "Mom Mom is leading us out on to the stage."
She underwent surgery on March 16, 2009 for a hip fracture that she suffered after a fall at home.
Biden went home to be with her at the hospital in Philadelphia and said that when he arrived he told his mother he had cleared his schedule to be able to spend time with her.
That did not sit well with Mrs. Biden, who knew her son had a standing engagement to deliver remarks to International Association of Firefighters later that day.
Biden said his mother insisted he keep that appointment - "She said, 'Joey, talk to the fire fighters.'"
Biden retold the exchange in his remarks to the firefighters in Washington - showing that even the man who is first-in-line to the presidency knows to not disobey his mother's advice.
Biden often spoke publicly of his mother and their warm, affectionate relationship was evident in his musings.
One of his most frequently used phrases is, "My mother has a saying?" and he often would regale campaign audiences, politicians and reporters with anecdotes of his childhood and upbringing in Scranton, and later in Wilmington.
His favorite quote? "'God love him,' as my mother would say," Biden loved to recall.
In his remarks accepting the vice presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention last August, Biden spoke emotionally about the influence his mother had on his life and the lessons she taught him.
"I thank God and I'm grateful that my mom, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden, is here tonight," Biden said. "Mom, I love you."
"My mom taught her children, all the children who flocked to our house, that you're defined by your sense of honor and you're redeemed by your loyalty," he said. "Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable."
Biden said that his mother had such a large role in his life that she even thought she would be useful during the daily grind of the presidential campaign in the fall of 2008.