Last Titanic survivor dies at 97

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by syscom3, May 31, 2009.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    12,631
    Likes Received:
    309
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Last Titanic survivor dies at 97 - Los Angeles Times

    Millvina Dean was about 2 months old when she sailed on the doomed ocean liner in 1912. She, her mother and brother were saved. Her father was among those who went down with the ship.
    By Mary Rourke

    1:25 PM PDT, May 31, 2009

    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, died today. 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.

    Before the family left England, Bertram and Georgetta Dean sold the pub they owned in London. They planned to sail to New York City and continue by land to Kansas City, Mo., where they were going to open a tobacco shop.

    They did not expect to travel on the Titanic but had booked on another ship that was also owned by White Star. A national coal strike led to a cancellation and they were offered a place on the Titanic as an alternative.

    On their fourth night at sea, April 14, the family was awakened by a jolt when the ship sideswiped the iceberg that cut into the ship.

    Bertram Dean went to see what was wrong and returned to tell his wife to dress the children warmly and take them to the lifeboat deck.

    "I think it was my father who saved us," Dean said in 2002. "So many other people thought the Titanic would never sink, and they didn't bother. My father didn't take a chance."

    He reassured his wife, "I'll be along later," Millvina Dean later learned. Bertram Dean died when the Titanic sank at about 2:20 a.m. on April 15.

    In the confusion of the evacuation, Dean and her mother got separated from her brother, who was put in a different lifeboat. They were reunited on the Carpathia, the Cunard ocean liner that was the first to respond to the Titanic's distress signals and took in all the lifeboat passengers.

    Dean, her mother and brother sailed to New York City on the rescue ship and spent several weeks in a hospital. Georgetta Dean then took her children home to England, sailing on the Adriatic. Passengers who knew what the family had been through lined up to hold baby Millvina, the youngest survivor of the Titanic. To keep the line moving, a ship's officer ordered that no one could hold the baby for more than 10 minutes.

    Asked what difference the incident made in her life, Dean was never sentimental. "It changed my life because I would have been American now instead of English," she told the Associated Press in 2002 without further comment.

    Georgetta Dean took her children to live with her parents in their home near Southampton. Millvina and her brother were educated with help from a Titanic Relief Fund established in England for the surviving family members of victims of the wreck.

    Dean attended secretarial school. During World War II, she moved to London and worked as a map maker for the British Army. She later returned to Southampton and was a secretary at an engineering firm. For many years, she lived in a house in nearby New Forest. She never married.

    Born Elizabeth Gladys Dean on Feb. 12, 1912, she might easily have gone through life without telling anyone that she was a passenger on the Titanic. She ignored the books, movies, clubs, websites and submarine tours of the ship disaster after it was found in 1985, 12,500 feet deep in the North Atlantic Ocean.

    Her anonymity ended in 1987 when she attended a memorial service in Southampton on the 75th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Lynch then invited her to speak at a Titanic Historical Society convention in Boston the following year.

    "Suddenly everyone knew my name," Dean later recalled. She became a frequent guest at Titanic-related events, she was interviewed on radio and television, and she was pelted with letters from inquirers. "The trouble is, they write me pages," she said of the letter writers in a 1998 interview with NBC News.

    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.

    She refused to watch "Titanic," the Academy Award-winning movie of 1997, even though she was invited to a screening with Prince Charles of England. "I'd wonder what my father was doing, what he did," she said, referring to the terrible last scenes of the film.

    Dean kept up her Titanic engagements into her 90s, often with her "permanent escort," Bruno Nordmanis, about 10 years younger, to accompany her. They traveled together on the Queen Elizabeth II cruise.

    In 2008, two years after breaking a hip, Dean arranged for a London auction house to sell some of her Titanic mementos to help pay her nursing home fees. The sale raised $53,906.

    Dean's mother died in 1975, at 95. Her brother died in 1992 on the 80th anniversary of the ship's sinking. He was 81.

    Dean is survived by two nephews and two nieces.

    Rourke is a former Times staff writer.

    Staff writer Jon Thurber contributed to this report.
     
  2. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    7,905
    Likes Received:
    189
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    IT Nerd
    Location:
    Dallas, Tx Jubail, Saudi Arabia
    Yeah, I just read this. RIP Ms. Dean!
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,185
    Likes Received:
    2,027
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    I find it interesting how fate alters the best laid plans...

    While I hated the movie, the ending was good (where all the victims were waiting for everyone at the staircase)...Ms. Dean can at last be with her Dad :)
     
  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    41,720
    Likes Received:
    517
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Doctor
    Location:
    Portsmouth / Royal Deeside, UK
    Home Page:
    I agree GG< the movie wasn't great but it was a good ending.

    Really sad to see her pass away but she did live for a long time. RIP Mrs Dean.
     
  5. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Messages:
    3,099
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Substitute teacher; graduate student
    Location:
    Connecticut, United States
  6. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,530
    Likes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    CNC Machinist/Programmer
    Location:
    Corona, California
    Home Page:
    RIP Ms. Dean.
    She had a long life but it is still sad to see the news of her passing.


    Wheelsup
     
  7. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    24,064
    Likes Received:
    655
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Korporate Kontrolleur
    Location:
    South Carolina
    RIP, an end to another era.
     
  8. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,592
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    IT
    Location:
    Hurst, Texas
    Movie had its good points....Leo dies, Kate gets nekkid....okay. It had two good points.

    Rest well, Ms. Dean. And another chapter in history comes to a close.
     
  9. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    23,053
    Likes Received:
    993
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Animal Control Officer
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    Just saw this on the news.

    RIP Ms. Dean and :salute: for your service in WWII.
     
  10. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    51,151
    Likes Received:
    846
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Adelaide Sth. Aust.
  11. Ferdinand Foch

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    816
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    College Student, sometimes a stock clerk
    Location:
    Stafford Springs, Connecticut
    Rest In Peace Mrs. Dean. I hope that you are with your father now (hope I didn't copy anyone).
     
  12. Soren

    Soren Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,624
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    RIP.

    I thought the movie was pretty good actually. And I agree that the ending was great.
     
  13. Crunch

    Crunch Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Messages:
    407
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Pest Control
    Location:
    Central Coast, NSW, Australia
    errr.. I don't remember the ending...

    my gf can recite the movie word for word though...


    RIP Mrs Dean, is definitely the end of an era.
     
Loading...

Share This Page