Jun 1, 2009

The True End Of An Era

Millvina Dean, the last survivor of the legendary ocean liner Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage in April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg in the North Atlantic, has passed away. She was 97.

She died at a nursing home near Southampton, England, the port where she and her family boarded the ship on its only voyage, according to Charles Haas, the president of the Titanic International Society. Her death came on the 98th anniversary of the launching of the Titanic on May 31, 1911.

"She was a remarkable, sparkling lady," Haas told the Times Sunday. "She knew her place in history and was always willing to share her story with others, especially children. She was the last living link to the story."

Dean was about 8 weeks old when she and her family set sail, third class, on the luxury ocean liner on April 10, 1912. Five days later, she was among some 700 passengers and crew rescued off the coast of Newfoundland. She and her mother, Georgetta, 32, and her brother Bertram, 23 months old, were put into lifeboats. Her father, Bertram, 27, stayed on board the ship and was among more than 1,500 passengers and crew members who went down with the Titanic.

She had no memory of the disaster, but at age 8 her mother told her what happened. "It was so awful for her that she never wanted to speak about it," Dean said of her mother in a 2002 interview with the Irish News. Georgetta Dean suffered severe headaches every day for years after the ship's sinking.

In 1998, Dean finally completed the sea voyage from Southampton to New York City that she had set out to make 86 years earlier. She traveled on the Queen Elizabeth II, compliments of Michael Rudd, a Titanic enthusiast and travel agent in Missouri. He and Dean gave a presentation together during the QE II sail. "She hadn't been on a ship since 1912," Rudd said in a 2007 interview with The Times. "People crowded around her, they just wanted to touch her."

As part of that same trip, Dean went to Missouri to see the house where her parents planned to begin their new life, an experience she described as eerie.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

What a remarkable life she had! R.I.P.

Hibiscus Moon said...

Awww, I know. I hard this morning on the news. Its truly the end of an era.