EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Ellen Casey, the mother of Senator Bob Casey who served as First Lady of Pennsylvania alongside her husband, Governor Bob Casey Sr., has died at the age of 91.

The Casey family released a statement Friday morning saying, “Our mother, Ellen Harding Casey, died peacefully this morning at Regional Hospital, Scranton after a brief illness. We are mourning the loss of our mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She was the center of our family, and we are deeply saddened by this loss.”

Casey was the widow of former Governor Robert Casey Sr., and the mother of U.S. Senator Bob Casey and his three brothers, Patrick, Matthew, and Christopher, and four sisters, Margaret, Mary Ellen, Kate, and Erin.

Former Governor Tom Ridge released a statement on Casey’s passing:

“Michele and I have heavy hearts today at the news that Pennsylvania has lost former First Lady Ellen Casey.

When we first moved into the governor’s residence in January 1995, no one was more welcoming, open, and gracious to our family than Ellen Casey. Her thoughtfulness and generosity of spirit during that period of transition helped us immensely, especially Michele who as the new First Lady welcomed Ellen’s good counsel about setting up a home in Harrisburg.

Her leadership and advocacy on behalf of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition has positively impacted the lives of countless women across the commonwealth. Her work in that area continues to this day.

All of us so admired Ellen’s strength during former Governor Casey’s significant health challenges and the care and love she shared not only with her husband but her entire family. She was always there for Governor Casey and the family, a true matriarch in every sense of the word. 

Michele and I send our condolences to her son, Senator Bob Casey, along with all of her beloved children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who were blessed to have had Ellen in their lives, as we all were. The legacy of selfless service demonstrated by Governor and Ellen Casey should serve as a model for all in public life to follow.”

First Lady of Pennsylvania Lori Shapiro also released a statement on the passing of Ellen Casey:

“On behalf of our entire family, Josh and I send our prayers and condolences to the Casey Family on the passing of First Lady Ellen Casey.”

“Ellen was an ambassador for the Commonwealth and her beloved home of Scranton. Like Governor Casey, she made family, health, and children part of her life’s work. Her work to raise awareness around breast cancer, literacy, and so much more made the lives of countless Pennsylvanians better.

“We are grateful to Ellen for her dedication to the people of Pennsylvania. May her memory be a blessing for her family and all of us who benefited from her service.“

On the day of her death, Governor Josh Shapiro ordered all US and Commonwealth flags on all Commonwealth facilities, public buildings, and grounds across Pennsylvania to immediately fly at half-staff in honor of Former First Lady Ellen Casey.