And Then There Were 3

Phillip Gowan

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Apr 10, 2001
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I'm very sorry to report that the oldest Titanic survivor, Winnifred Quick Van Tongerloo, died last night, July 5th, at the age of 98. More details will follow. George Behe asked me to let all the ET members know. She was quite a fine little lady. Her passing now leaves only Miss Asplund with actual memories of the maiden voyage.

Phil
 

Pat Cook

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Apr 27, 2000
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Thank you for letting us know - I know I speak for so many others when I say how saddened we are.

Also, please tell George we miss him here.

Sincerely,
Pat
 

John Clifford

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Nov 12, 2000
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Phil,

Thanks for the previous information, about Ms. Van Tongerloo. You, truly, let us know she lived a good life.

"Rest in Peace, Winnifred"

John Clifford
 
May 12, 2005
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My sincerest condolences to Mrs. Van Tongerloo's family and to friends like George and Phil who were close to her and protected her wishes to be left to lead a quiet life. May God bless and rest her soul.
 

John M. Feeney

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Sep 20, 2000
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So sorry to hear this! Phil, thanks for passing the word, though. (And to George, too.)

If it's any consolation, 98 is certainly a ripe old age, rich in years and experiences.
May we all be so blessed!

John
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Yesterday was a tragic day; it saw the loss of baseball great Ted Williams and a Titanic survivor! I am very saddened to hear this...very.
sad.gif



-B.W.
 
Mar 15, 2001
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Its always sad to hear about the passing of a Titanic survivor. I think of the late writer Alex Haley and his quote "When an old person dies, it's like a library burning down". He couldn't have been more right. The things Mrs. Van Tongerloo saw with her eyes back in 1912 can't be told by anyone else. Its a sad day.
 

Kate Bortner

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May 17, 2001
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May God rest her soul.
Please let us know if there is a way we can express our condolences to her family without being a burden.
-kate.
 

Phillip Gowan

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Apr 10, 2001
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Memorials in memory of Mrs. Van Tongerloo should be sent to the Burcham Hills Foundation, 2700 Burcham Dr., East Lansing, Michigan, 48823.

George tells me that she actually died on Thursday evening, July 4th, but the death wasn't announced until yesterday.

Phil
 

Phillip Gowan

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Apr 10, 2001
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The obituaries in the Lansing Journal and in Detroit papers today are very low key, though they do mention she was a Titanic survivor. They apparently aren't trying to keep her death a secret but aren't trying to publicize it widely either. Winnie wasn't the public persona that Millvina is, and her passing would naturally not provoke the worldwide attention and scrutiny outside Titanic circles. I suspect in a few days there will be short blurbs about it and nothing more.
 
Mar 15, 2001
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Phillip, I have always wondered why Winnifred never wanted to be interviewed when Camerons movie came out. Seems like she would have liked the attention it would have brought her. She didn't lose any family members in the sinking and she was an honor member of the THS. I have read that she had wanted to attend one of the conventions. Did she ever get that opportunity?
 

Phillip Gowan

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Apr 10, 2001
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Darren,
George could speak to your questions much better than I can but from what I know, Winnie wasn't really unwilling to participate so much as she was hindered by preferences. By that I mean that she wouldn't fly at all (nor go near water) and by the time it became a big deal to have groups of survivors at conventions she was already in her mid-80's and didn't want to make long trips by land. She told me that she didn't mind talking about Titanic at all and proved it during the time I spent with her. At the same time she didn't mind talking about it, neither did she actively seek to talk about it. I think she lived a lot of years in which Titanic was only a footnote to her life and she sort of kept it that way. One thing that really stuck out was how matter-of-fact she was when talking about her own experience. When I asked her if she was afraid for her life, she almost spoke comically of how she was more afraid of having a lifebelt put on than of getting into a lifeboat. She thought for sure that getting the lifebelt put on meant that someone was going to throw her in the water. When discussing her experience in the lifeboat, she matter-of-factly stated that a German woman pulled her dress up over her and she got warm and fell asleep--end of story. She didn't particularly like to sign autographs nor have her photo made and those small personal preferences may have made her shy away from big gatherings too. George and others can speak to all this much better than I can as they knew her intimately all thru the years--but these are my small observations, some of them backed up by things I've been told by those that knew her best.

Phil