Saturday, February 28, 2009
The Last Survivor
Elizabeth Gladys (Milvina Dean) was born on February 2, 1912 in London, England. Her parents were Bertram Frank Dean and Georgetta Eva Light. She had an older brother, also named Bertram, who was born in 1910. Ms. Dean's parents decided to immigrate to Wichita, Kansas later that same year, so that her father could open a tobacco shop. Her father saved and saved money, until he got his ticket to a new life. Mr. Dean got a ticket on another ship, but were transferred to the Titanic due to a coal strike in 3rd class. The Titanic set sail when she was only 9 weeks old. She and all her family had 3rd class all the way, which was like 2nd class in most ships. The Titanic struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912. Her family was woken up by a steward, told to put their lifejackets on, and go up on deck. The family made it up to the boat deck where Georgette, Bertram Jr., and Millvina were put into the lifeboat while her father was left on the sinking ship. No one knows what happened to Bertram Sr. after that, except that he unfortunately died. Mrs. Dean was holding Millvina, and realized that she didn't have her brother Bertram Jr. They later found him on the rescue ship Carpathia. He had been cared for by another passenger. The passengers took turns holding Millvina, and taking care of her. When the Carpathia docked, the company that owned Titanic called the White Star Line, provided passage back to England for those that wanted to return. The Deans returned to England after learning that their father and husband died, on the Adriatic. Mrs. Dean worked to support her family, and Millvina grew up not knowing about the Titanic or, that she lost her father on it. It was not until she was 8, that she knew about the disaster, when her mother Georgetta planned to remarry. Millvina Dean never married, but worked for the government. She drew maps during WWII, and worked in the purchasing department of the engineering firm. She later became a celebrity when she was in her 70s. She completed her family journey in 1997 on the Queen Elizabeth 2, and was invited to see the Titanic movie by James Cameron in a private viewing with Prince Charles on Whales. She refused, especially after seeing A Night To Remember in the 50s. She didn't like that they supposedly "publicized the deaths of 1,500 people". As of 2007, she was the last living survivor. She had no memory of the disaster however. Recently, she had to sell a suitcase and some clothing that were donated by the people of America, to pay for her keep at a nursing home. Later, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet donated $30,000 (her bill was 3,000 pounds per month). However, she died later that year (of an infection in her lungs caused by pneumonia) on May 31, 2009 at the age of 97 on the 98th anniversary of the Titanic's launching.