What sad news- but not unexpected. We have so many good memories. I am especially glad we were able to take him to visit his father's grave in Halifax, back in 1996. The last man... hard to believe. Keep us posted on developments, Michael.
Mr. Navratil was very devout- the last thing we did before visiting his father's gravesite in Halifax was to go to early Sunday morning Mass. The ship's tailor made a vestment for Father Gagner and the Mass was held in the ship's theater( Island Breeze). Then the priest went with us to the Jewish cemetery where his father was mistakenly buried to offer the Roman Catholic prayers for the dead. Michel started to kneel at the gravesite but the stones were so close together he could not. He offered a prayer softly, in French of course- I heard him say Papa- and I am sure the family, today, is together again at last.
I am so sorry to hear this. I have learned so much about him in the past year through making my scrapbook. I am fighting back tears. It is just too hard to believe. First him, and then Millvina. Is Millvina going to recover? I will pray for her, may we all.
A moving post, Shelley, about mumbled prayers at Baron De Hirsch.
"...Priez pour nous, pauvre pecheurs, maintenant et a l'heure de notre mort."
After almost 89 years, Lolo has gone back to his father's arms. RIP.
Of all the many memories we have of Titanic related events, I'm sure we would agree that the most impressionable was that Summer day in August of 1996 when we took Michel to visit his father's grave in Halifax. It was a very sad event, but one that Michel wanted to participate in. He later said that he was overcome with emotion upon the realization that it took him over 84 years to be that close to his father again. Closure had finally been achieved. He last remembered his father standing on the Titanic's boat deck calling out comforts to both he and his brother as the last lifeboat departed.
Of course, Michel did not dwell on the sadness of his tragic experience. What an interesting man he was. A great philosopher - he was more interested in reflecting on how his survival shaped his life. He loved his library which contained thousands upon thousands of books which he absorbed throughout his lifetime.
I will always remember his gentle smile, his kindness in still speaking with everyone despite the language barrier, and his classic pose in the dining room, complete with tuxedo, during the Expedition cruise with a glass of wine in his hand. When he realized that many children on the expedition cruise were being shuffled away from him to prevent them from "bothering" him with requests and questions, he immediately objected and let it be known that he wanted to have the youngsters visit. In fact, he was the one who asked to have the private visiting session with the children aboard in the ship's lounge so he could speak with them and autograph their books and pictures. Little Victoria Adams went to the piano and played "Memory" for Mr. Navratil. He was so moved by that thoughtful gesture. Aboard the Island Breeze, he was all over that ship - briskly walking up and down the boat deck in his jogging suit, visiting the ship's library, touring the bridge. His participation during the memorial service was equally moving when both he and dear Edith Haisman tossed flowers into the sea to remember all those lost in the sinking. He then knelt down beside an emotional Edith and kissed her on both cheeks and hugged her. During the rest of the voyage, he was often seen sitting in his deck chair gazing out over the ocean of memories. As he later described, "the Titanic had come finally come full circle." His only regret during the expedition cruise was that his brother did not live long enough to share the same experience.
According to Michel's daughter, Elisabeth, he passed peacefully away in his sleep.
Elisabeth mentioned that the funeral will be strictly private for the family and close friends and will be held on Friday. A memorial service will take place at a later date for those wishing to attend.