Barbara McDermott passes away


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It is with great sadness that I learned that Mrs. McDermott passed away about 10: 30 last evening, Saturday, April 12th. She had suffered several falls recently and recovered from pneumonia only to develop kidney failure.

She was a lovely lady, much loved by family and all who knew her. Barbara was born in 1912 and her birthday would have been next month. I am sure many here can share memories.
 
News of the funeral arrangements have just been released. Calling hours are Tuesday, April 15th from 11:30-12:30 at the Clancy-Sisk Brothers Funeral Home, 43 Kirkham Avenue, East Haven, CT followed by a memorial service at the Old Stone Church, 251 Main Street, East Haven. I am sure some may wish to send flowers. Barbara was very appreciative of the great effort made by ET members, especially Cliff Barry, in raising funds for a permanent stone marker for her mother and baby brother back in Darlington, England. How she loved meeting people and sharing her story! This is a very sad day, likened only to the passing of Miss Lillian Asplund, for Barbara was the last with any memories of the great ship disaster. Thanks to some good folks here, Lusitania Purser Harkness' family has been in touch with her, and Barbara was given the opportunity to share her incredible story of rescue with so many around the world for the past eight years.
 
It's a very sad day. We've all gotten to know and love Barbara, and other survivors of wrecks, and it's very emotional when they pass on and you think of all the good times you've had together. I think a saint has gone to God.
 
This is one of the few times that words fail me.

Barbara was such a dynamic person that, even though one knew she was 93...95...95, the thought of her mortality never really entered the equation. She certainly never spoke of it….at parting time, it was always “Now, you come see me again in the spring” and never “goodbye.”

I wish that everyone in the liner community could have met with her one-on-one. Because she was genuinely nice, and loved making new friends. Her door was always open, and she always had a nice smile and food waiting for guests. She enjoyed giving hand-made gifts, and if she made YOU happy, then she was happy.

She would often comment that the only good thing to come out of the disaster was that it allowed her to make scores of new friends at an age where most people are not as fortunate. I’ll always remember how she positively….glowed…..at a dinner party we all attended in Newport, and how very content and vibrant she seemed that night.

The death of an older person is always sad, because it is the equivalent of the destruction of a library….the sum total of their life experiences irretrievably gone in an instant. With Barbara it is particularly sad, because with her death on April 12, the Lusitania passed from “living” to “archival” history. Now, there is no one left from aboard the ship who can remember the disaster. It is gone.

Barbara was an exceptionally fortunate woman. Almost no one under the age of three survived the disaster, and had her mother, Emily, been a few steps faster or slower that afternoon, it is all but certain that Barbara’s life would have ended May 7, 1915. When in the presence of this remarkably gentle person, who owed the last 93 years of her life to the one in a million chance of being in exactly the right spot at the right moment, I occasionally wondered how the other 1,198 stories would have played out had things gone differently that day, and had sobering insight into just how ugly and brutal the Lusitania affair truly was.

I think that the best source of consolation for those who knew her, is that she was a True Believer. For Barbara, death was not an end, but a beginning- a transition- a step into life eternal. On one of the few occasions we spoke of death, she said that she did not fear it, and that she looked forward to meeting with her mother again. And, I have no doubt that when the time came, it WAS Emily who came for her; either in spirit or as the last merciful gesture of a dying mind shutting down. She loved her mother most of all; was certain that Emily was the one person who loved her unconditionally, and despite the passage of 91 years, missed her. And now they are together again.

In closing, I’ll say that we as a group, have lost a great friend this week. But, so many of you made her final ten years special, and you can be proud of that….she’d be the first person to say it! Cliff; Mike; Shelley; Mike; Bob; Tim….I must confess that behind your backs she’d say the nicest things. She recognized, and valued, all of you for the many kindnesses shown to her, and was not shy about articulating her love.


So, goodbye to a wonderful woman and a great friend…a free spirit who loved cats, people, her hymnal, and family-style restaurants. We love you and will always be grateful for the good times spent together.

[Moderator's Note: This message, originally a separate thread, has been moved to this pre-existing thread about Ms. McDermott's death and life. In addition, several formerly-loose threads about her have now been pulled together in this subtopic. MAB]
 
Dear Friends,

With all that has been written above, I feel that the world is truly a much poorer place without Barbara McDermott. I have rarely met someone with as big a heart as Barbara, someone who had a smile and a big hug for everyone she met, someone who loved God and was so grateful and thankful that the Almighty delivered she and her mother out of the terrible events of 92 years ago. It is heartwarming to think that after the passage of almost a century, Barbara and her family are all back together.

We will never forget her.....
 
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Today's obituary in the New Haven Register, there is also a short article available on line at the newspaper web address.

MCDERMOTT, BARBARA W. In Wallingford, April 12, 2008 Barbara W. (Anderson) McDermott, 95, of Wallingford, formerly of Martin Rd., East Haven. Wife of the late Milton G. McDermott. Loving mother of George E. (Vivian) McDermott of Connellsville, PA and Elizabeth A. (James) DeLucia of Wallingford, grandmother of Lisa (Kevin) Karwatsky, David M. (Michelle) McDermott, James (Debbie) DeLucia, Jr., Paul E. (Terri) DeLucia and Lisa DeLucia and great-grandmother of Kyle Karwatsky, P.J. DeLucia and Michael DeLucia. Predeceased by a brother Richard P. Anderson. Barbara was a member of the Old Stone Church and their womens club, the Argonauts Dance Club and was a Lusitania survivor in 1915. Funeral services are Tuesday at 11:30am in Old Stone Church. Burial will be conducted privately in East Haven Cemetery. There are no calling hours. The family wishes to thank the staff of Skyview Health Care for their compassionate care. Memorial contributions may be made to Old Stone Church Restoration Fund 251 Main St. East Haven, 06512. CLANCY FUNERAL HOME 43 KIRKHAM AVE. EAST HAVEN in care of arrangements.
 
It was an exceptionally sad day yesterday when Shelley and myself met with Bob Bracken and Mike Findlay to say goodbye to Barbara. Losing a dear friend like that, we agreed, is the same as losing a member of the family.

It was a beautiful day, with a bit of a breeze, when we arrived in East Haven. This town is one of the hidden secrets of New England. One can see why Barbara always talked about it.

The service was very simple and the family was in full attendance. The pastor knew Barbara quite well and the theme was Barbara's faith and love and her belief in being saved for great things. The Lusitania was used to show that. Favorite hymns were played, 'Amazing Grace' and 'How Great Thou Art' and psalm 23 was read.

Following the service, we took a trip to see certain points of Barbara's life, the cemetery office where she worked, her school, her house, and the cove that she loved to go to so much. We found these quite easily, as if guided by Barbara herself. She would have been quite pleased that she was the lead story on the front page of a major newspaper. As Shelley pointed out though, the press at large is more concerned with celebrity troubles than it is with the individual. I think any normal person would have preferred to read about the life of an amazing person, such as Barbara, then Britney spears out of control behavior.

It was a sad event, as was the loss of Miss Asplund, due to the realization that came to us as we attended both funerals that an end of an era had come. There will be many ways to continue the stories of Titanic, Lusitania, etc... However, some things will now fade into a pleasant memory. Memories of meeting and knowing people like Barbara, Marjorie, Robb, Frank Aks, Lou Pope, etc... And those memories will always bring smiles to the faces who do.
 
>>I think any normal person would have preferred to read about the life of an amazing person, such as Barbara, then Britney spears out of control behavior.<<

AMEN to that, Rev'rnd Michael! Barbara and the others you mentioned lived through and were a part of times and events that were actually important!
 
God help us, Michael, if US history school books 20 years from now start mentioning Britney and company over actual historical events. The sad thing, it might not be out of the realm of possibility.
 
>>The sad thing, it might not be out of the realm of possibility.<<

I know, and that's more then a little unsettling. It's not as if a lot of these pop culture icons are persons of any genuine importance.
 
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