Monday, May 08, 2006

Last Titanic survivor to remember sinking dies.

I always feel a tinge of melancholy when I learn that the last survivor of a long-ago event has passed away. As I wrote in November when the last soldier to participate in the World War I "Christmas truce" died, stories of great significance can be lost when the last person to witness or take part in an important phase of history passes from the scene. Such a passing occurred yesterday when 99-year-old Lillian Gertrud Asplund died at her home in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. As a five year-old girl in April 1912, Miss Asplund joined her parents and four brothers on the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. Asplund, her mother and her younger brother Felix all survived the Titanic's disastrous sinking, but her father, her twin and two older brothers did not. Lillian Asplund was the last living Titanic survivor with memories of the sinking; two other Titanic passengers remain alive, but both were only a few months old at the time of the sinking and neither remembers the event. A reticent but good-natured woman who lived alone and never married, Miss Asplund seldom discussed her experiences on the Titanic and refused to give interviews. Many details of her story died with her, as seems to have been her wish. Requiescat in Pace. AMDG.


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