Mary Nackid

Yesterday, after the TIS convention in Mystic/ Groton, Connecticut ended, some of us went on to a very special service in Waterbury, CT. to unveil a memorial marker to the first passenger survivor to die, little Mary Nackid. Born in 1910, she and her parents, Said and Mary (Mowad) boarded 3rd class at Cherbourg. All were saved in collapsible C, but little Mary died of meningitis on July 30, 1912, making her the first survivor to die.Mrs. Nackid was so devastated she could not bring herself to visit the little girl's unmarked grave. The family continued to live in Waterbury, managing a grocery store. Five more children were born to the couple, but sadly Said died at age 36,in 1926,- Mrs. Nackid survived until 1962, rarely speaking of Titanic -but viewing A Night to Remember with her family when it was released. The family is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Waterbury, not far from the grave of the infant Mary. TIS member Bruce Tompkins, along with the society, and remaining members of the Nackid family undertook this project to mark the baby's grave at last.
Left to right, Anthony Nackid, Jr., Catherine Nackid (widow of John Nackid) and Amy Nackid, who following the ceremony said, "I hope my mother-in-law will be pleased with me for what I did." Amy is the widow of Anthony Nackid.
That is so sweet. It warms me to see relatives who remember their ancestors so many years later! My grandmother's grandmother had no stone and she always said that she wished she could get her one. Even as a child, I promised her that someday I would make sure it had a marker. I still plan to do just that!

Thanks for sharing! It's so horrible to survive Titanic and die 2 months later
Couldn't copy and paste the link to the news story so here it is:


By Eugene Driscoll

The News-Times

May 13, 2004 10:47 AM EDT

BROOKFIELD, Conn. -- Bruce Tompkins calls it his "Titanic room." It holds miniature models of the legendary ship, a pile of Titanic puzzles stacked 3 feet high, "Titanic" movie memorabilia and more posters and paintings than will fit on his wall.

But Tompkins, of Brookfield, is not just a man with an unusual hobby. For him, "Titanic" means more than a Leonardo DiCaprio melodrama backed by a syrupy Celine Dion song. The story of the massive ocean liner that sank April 15, 1912, after hitting an iceberg has captivated him since he was a child.

The same can be said for Amy Nackid. For the Bethel woman, the Titanic is family history. She was married to the late Anthony Nackid. His parents Said and Mary came to America from Lebanon on the Titanic with their only child, named Mary.

While they survived the ship's sinking, established a life in Waterbury and went on to have six more children, the couple never talked about the disaster.

"It was too traumatic," said Amy Nackid.

When her mother in-law's three sons went into military service, "she said she didn't mind them going into the service, as long as it wasn't the Navy."

Their ties to the Titantic recently brought both Tompkins and Amy Nackid to the Calvary Cemetery in Waterbury. There, they joined some other members of Nackid's extended family at a small ceremony that marked the final resting place of 1-year-old Mary Nackid, a toddler who survived the Titanic disaster only to die a few months later.

None of it would have happened without Tompkins, who became interested in the Titanic when he was growing up in West Hartford.

"It's an enduring story. It's engineering and the ego of man against God, if you will," said Tompkins, a 60-year-old semi-retired engineer.

His childhood interest in the Titanic waned as he grew older, got a job with IBM and married his wife, Susan. The couple who have lived in Brookfield for 33 years recently became grandparents.

Bruce Tompkins' interest in the ship was renewed in 1997, when the movie "Titanic" hit theaters and became the biggest money-making film ever. Tompkins, who already had several books on the disaster, began collecting items in earnest, mostly from eBay, the online auction house.

"I call it eBuy," Tompkins said.

He also joined three organizations: The Titanic Historical Society, the Titanic International Society, and the British Titanic Society.

The groups have annual get-togethers and conventions for Titanic enthusiasts. At these functions, he met other armchair Titanic experts.

Then Tompkins took his interest in the famous ship a step further.

Over the years while reading books and cruising Titanic-related Internet sites, he kept coming across the Nackid family name. The fact the Nackids were coming to Connecticut on the Titanic piqued his interest. He began to delve deeper into who they were, even charting the Nackid family tree.

He learned that Mary, the baby, was the first Titanic survivor to die. He went to the funeral home where she was laid to rest, searching for records. Tompkins learned baby Mary was buried in a pauper's grave because the family was brand new to the country and penniless.

After about two years of searching, Tompkins tracked down the Nackid family in Bethel. His interest immediately attracted Amy, who wanted to know more about her family's lost history.

She told him what she knew about the night the ship sank. Her information was gained through third-party sources, because her in-laws didn't like talking about it. The night of the disaster, Said Nackid, the father, heard a loud noise. The massive ship had just struck an iceberg.

"He got his family dressed and took them up to the lifeboat deck," Tompkins said.

The family managed to get into a lifeboat, where they rubbed shoulders with J. Bruce Ismay, a bigwig from the company that owned the Titanic.

Tompkins said the Nackids survived the disaster unscathed and made their way to Waterbury, where Said found work as a laborer.

Mary, the baby, came down with meningitis and died July 30, 1912 just three months after Titanic sank.

"Nobody really knew anything about her because she died before everyone else," Tompkins said.

Tompkins immediately decided that the child's resting place, and her connection to history, deserved to be marked. With help from the Nackid family and the Titanic International Society, Tompkins purchased a small $600 grave marker.

The 300-member Titanic International Society held a convention in Groton. At the conclusion of the event, a few members from the group went to the cemetery in Waterbury.

A priest from a Waterbury Catholic church said a few words. A small stone reading "Mary Nackid, 1910-1912, infant daughter of Said and Mary Nackid, Titanic Survivors," was unveiled.

"It was beautiful, and for me, it was closure," Amy Nackid said.

Tompkins said his motivation was simple.

"Virtually all Titanic survivors had markers," he said. "She is probably one of a very few who didn't. I just thought it was the right thing to do."

Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press
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