On the many trips I’ve taken home to Scranton over the decades, one of the things I’ve looked forward to most was the chance to visit or talk with Ellen Casey – I truly loved her.
I’ve often said that everything important I learned in life I learned in Scranton and you didn’t have to look any further than Ellen Casey to know why. To spend just a few minutes with Ellen was to get a lifetime’s education in Scranton values. Honesty. Decency. Integrity. Character. They were non-negotiable. It was who you were. Kindness was not a sign of weakness – it was a sign of strength. And no one was more kind. Hard work was expected. Family always came first. But life was about serving others. Public service was a public trust – an opportunity to help others and change lives for the better.
She and Bob raised their eight children with those values, passing along a devotion to family and serving others.
Growing up just a few blocks from the big Irish Catholic Casey household on Washington Avenue, I admired them from a young age. I got to know Ellen as an adult when I became a Senator, and I came to respect her even more. I watched the resolute and loving support she offered her husband, Pennsylvania’s former governor. I saw the work she did as First Lady in literacy and breast cancer. And later, I saw the extraordinary young man she raised, my friend Bobby, become one of the most effective and respected members of the United States Senate.
Ellen Casey lived a life of extraordinary dignity and grace. Jill and I will miss her dearly, never more so than on our trips back to Scranton. We’re grateful to her and Bob for giving the world so many wonderful children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, to carry on the Casey family legacy and values. Our hearts are with them today.