Mourners Pay Respects to U.S. Vice President's Son, Beau Biden - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Mourners Pay Respects to U.S. Vice President's Son, Beau Biden

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Mourners line up outside Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington to pay their respects to Beau Biden. (Photo: WBOC) Mourners line up outside Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington to pay their respects to Beau Biden. (Photo: WBOC)
Hundreds of mourners stood in line for blocks along West 10th Street waiting their turn to get inside Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church for the public viewing of Beau Biden. (Photo: WBOC) Hundreds of mourners stood in line for blocks along West 10th Street waiting their turn to get inside Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church for the public viewing of Beau Biden. (Photo: WBOC)
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP/WBOC)- Delawareans have been gathering at a Catholic church in Wilmington to pay their respects to former Attorney General Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer last week.

The 46-year-old Biden, eldest son of Vice President Joe Biden, was being mourned Friday during a viewing at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church.

Biden's flag-draped casket arrived shortly after noon. Delaware National Guard Adjutant General Francis Vavala saluted as an honor guard carried the casket to the church, where mourners began lining up outside.

Viewing hours were from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The line to get into the church wrapped around multiple blocks for the earlier viewing.

Lots of Delawareans came out. Many of them knew Beau personally or had some interaction with the Biden family over the course of its four decades in the public eye of the First State.

"Beau was a good friend, an incredible leader, somebody who touched the lives of thousands and thousands of people," said Marc Lapresti, while he waited in line. "And we thought it only appropriate to come and pay our last respects to a dear friend."

"I'm in the Delaware Army National Guard. Beau Biden had been one of our JAGs," Col. Daniel Caton said. "He was well liked by all the members, soldiers. And I wanted to come here to pay my respects to him for all the service and time he spent with us."

Biden went to the Middle East with the Guard early in his first term as AG.

"All of us grew up with Joe. He was in the Senate for many years before he went to the vice presidency. And we feel like he's family. We're here to support him," said Besty Bove. "I know them all casually. It's a very small state... They're all very personable, good people, very family-oriented."

Other people came from far away to show their support.

"I felt a need to pay my respects to the Biden family. It's a tragic situation," said William Tarver. "I'm from Kent, Ohio. It's eight hours away. If I was going to be in the state of Delaware, I figured I'd come here to pay my respects."

Many local, state and federal officials were at Friday's viewing: U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, U.S. Rep. John Carney, D-Del., U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.; U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.; New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon; Delaware National Guard Adjutant General Francis D. Vavala; former Delaware House Speaker Robert Gilligan, a Democrat; Rob Buccini, Wilmington developer and friend to Beau Biden and Priscilla Rakestraw, former longtime Delaware GOP National Committeewoman. 

Others who attended Friday's viewing, according to the vice president's office, were: U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.; U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.; U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.; U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.; U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Chicago Mayor Mayor Rahm Emanuel

A funeral Mass will be held Saturday at 10:30 a.m., with President Barack Obama giving a eulogy.

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