Local First Lady
When President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D) was sworn on January 20, 2021, his wife, self-described “Hammonton girl” Dr. Jill Biden was holding the Bible.
The White House’s official website (www.whitehouse.gov) mentions our town in the second paragraph of Jill Biden’s biography: “Jill Tracy Jacobs Biden was born on June 3, 1951, in Hammonton, New Jersey to Bonny Jean Godfrey Jacobs and Donald Carl Jacobs. The oldest of five daughters, she grew up in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia.”
She is described on the White House website as a “community college educator, military mother & grandmother and wife of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.” and notes that she served as Second Lady of the United States from 2009-2017, when her husband was serving as vice president in the administration of President Barack Obama (D).
In July of 2020, during the presidential campaign, The Gazette’s Joseph F. Berenato had an exclusive print interview with Jill Biden, who came back to her birthplace in Hammonton to film an interview with Rita Braver of “CBS Sunday Morning.” Berenato asked her some questions about returning to the town and seeing some familiar landmarks, like the homes of her grandparents, including the one on the Jacobs side of her family, located next to Bruno Auto Parts on 12th Street; the former location of Godfrey’s Rexall Drug Store (now El Nuevo Mariachi Loco restaurant) and her father’s name on a monument in Hammonton Veterans Park on Bellevue Avenue near the Historical Society of Hammonton Museum.
“My dad was a veteran from World War II. We’re going to where the monument was. He used to take me there as a little girl with brass polish to shine the names, because he was so proud of his service and the other families that served in World War II,” Jill Biden told The Gazette in July 2020.
During the interview with The Gazette, Jill Biden said she was going to make sure she did not leave Hammonton without visiting and getting food from one of her favorite establishments.
“You can’t come to Hammonton without going to Bagliani’s … I’m a Hammonton girl, what can I say?” Jill Biden said.
Knowing that someone who was born in Hammonton could one day become the First Lady of the United States is something that can serve as a source of pride for all Hammontonians. It reminds us that this is a special town, where people grow up dreaming big dreams of all kinds, and then achieve them.