Neilia Hunter was a school teacher and also Joe Biden’s first wife. In 1972, Neilia Hunter lost her life in a car accident, alongside her infant daughter, Naomi. Her two sons, Beau and Hunter, were severely injured but survived the car accident. Here is her biography.

Profile Summary

Full Name: Neilia Hunter Biden

Date of Birth: July 28, 1942

Place of Birth: Skaneateles, New York, U.S.

Died: December 18, 1972 (aged 30)

Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.

Cause of Death: Traffic collision

Resting Place: Greenville, Delaware, U.S.

Education: Syracuse University (MA)

Occupation: School teacher

Spouse(s): Joe Biden ​(m. 1966)​

Children: Beau, Hunter and Naomi Biden 

Early Life

Neilia Hunter was born in Skaneateles, New York, on July 28, 1942. She was born to Louise Hunter (née Basel; 1915–1993) and Robert Hunter (1914–1991). Her father, Robert, was the former Auburn city councilman.


Neilia Hunter attended Penn Hall, a secondary boarding school in Pennsylvania. While in secondary school, she was active in the school’s French club and student council. She also participated in sporting activities like hockey, swimming. After secondary school, she attended Syracuse University.


Neilia was a school teacher in the Syracuse City School District. Besides that, She was also an English teacher at the Bellevue Academy. 


Neilia and Joe Biden

Neilia Hunter and Joe Biden met in Nassau, Bahamas, on a spring break trip. Biden relocated to Syracuse, where Neila was staying to attend a law school. Mr Biden was a former Vice President and currently the 46th president of the United States. The duo met long before Joe Biden became the vice president of the United States. At the time, Mr Biden was a law student at Syracuse University.

Joe Biden and Neila Hunter dated, and after overcoming her parents’ reluctance to marry a Roman Catholic, they got married on August 27, 1966. Their marriage took place in a Catholic church in Skaneateles, New York.

After Mr Biden graduated from law school, Mr Biden moved with his wife, Nelia Biden, to Wilmington, Delaware, where Mr Biden was on the New Castle County Council. 

Family Life   

Mr Joe and Neilia Biden had three children: Joseph Robinette “Beau” Biden III(1969-2015), Robert Hunter Biden (1970)  and a daughter Naomi Christina “Amy” Biden (1971-1972). 


Neilia Hunter Biography

On December 18, 1972, shortly after Joe Biden became U.S. senator-elect, Joe Biden’s wife Neilia and his infant daughter Naomi died. They lost their lives in a car crash while Christmas shopping in Hockessin, Delaware. On that fateful day, Joe Biden’s wife drove with her three children along rural Valley Road in Hockessin, Delaware.

At the intersection with Delaware Route 7, she collided with a tractor-trailer truck travelling north along Route 7. The Police determined Joe Biden’s wife drove into the path of the tractor-trailer, possibly because she did not see the oncoming truck. Neila and her three children were taken to the hospital.

Neilia Biden and her infant daughter Naomi did not survive the accident; they were pronounced dead on arrival at the Wilmington General Hospital. Her sons survived the car crash with multiple serious injuries. Neila’s first son Beau was age three at the time of the accident; he had a broken leg. Her second son Hunter was age two at the time; he had minor skull fractures. 

Two weeks after the disaster, Mr Biden was sworn into the Senate at the hospital, where his young sons, Beau and Hunter, were being treated. However, he considered resigning from his new elected post to care for his sons but was persuaded not to. Biden’s wife and his daughter Naomi were buried in St. Joseph in the Brandywine Cemetery in Greenville, Delaware.


In an opening speech at Yale University in 2015, Joe Biden spoke about his first wife. At the time, he was the vice president of the United States under the Barack Obama administration. He said the incredible bond he had with his first wife and kids is the gift he wouldn’t have had if he hadn’t been through what he went through. He then mentioned that he found redemption by focusing on Beau and Hunter.

A park in a suburban area of Delaware outside Wilmington was dedicated to the memory of Joe Biden’s first wife, Neilia Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden Park is also dedicated to Neila’s memory. Cayuga Community College in Auburn, New York, where Neilia’s father ran the foodservice operation for many years, annually confers Joe Biden’s first wife Neilia Award on two graduates, one for journalism and the other for English literature. A memorial plaque was also erected in Bellevue Elementary School in honour of Joe Biden’s first wife’s memory.

Neilia Hunter Son’s

Former vice president Joe Biden’s son, Joseph Robinette “Beau” Biden III, is dead. Joseph Robinette Biden lost his life to brain cancer in 2015 at age 46. After Beau’s funeral, Joe Biden became more focused on cancer research. On his presidential campaign, Biden spoke on Beau’s death and how the people of South Carolina helped him heal. 

The Neilia and Biden only surviving son, Hunter, presently works with Ukrainian gas company Burisma. 

Did Biden Remarry?

Joe Biden has remarried after his first wife died. He is now married to Jill Jacobs. President Biden married his second wife, Jill Jacobs, in 1977. His wife, Jill, has been very supportive of him.