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President Biden visits Scranton to pay respects to former First Lady of PA's family

Haley O'Brien
People line up outside St. Peter's Cathedral in Scranton to pay respects to former Pennsylvania First Lady Ellen Casey.

To say the Casey family has friends in Scranton would be an understatement.

The president was among many to pay respects to the family of former First Lady of Pennsylvania Ellen Casey.

The family’s matriarch, born Ellen Harding Casey, died on Friday. She was 91. Her husband, the late Governor Bob Casey, died in 2000.

“All you have to say is, the President of the United States came to her viewing," Malachy Mannion said, speaking of her legacy.

President Biden visited with the family privately before the viewing began. The funeral mass will be Friday at 10a.m., at St. Peter's Cathedral, 315 Wyoming Ave., Scranton, PA.

"To spend just a few minutes with Ellen was to get a lifetime’s education in Scranton values," the president said in a statement. "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."

Mannion is a longtime family friend; he was classmates with Margie in first grade. She’s the oldest of the Casey's eight children. Ellen had 34 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, according to her obituary.

As First Lady of Pennsylvania, she promoted literacy, women’s health, and adoption. Lined up outside the viewing, friends of the family described her character.

“Such a kind and gentle human being, always cared about anyone she spoke to," Malachy Mannion said. "No matter when you saw her, you always felt like she was only interested in you and what you were doing.”

Peggy Mannion enjoyed socializing with the former First Lady.

"Any of the events we went to, she was always a pleasure to sit with and chat with," she said. "She had a great sense of humor. I really loved her and I'm going to miss her."