Thelma Thomas, 78, Survivor of Titanic

Washington Post

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WILKES-BARRE, Pa., Jan. 8 (AP)—Thelma Thomas, a survivor of the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, died Monday at a nursing home where she had been a patient for three weeks. She was 78.

A native of Lebanon who was immigrating to this country, Mrs. Thomas was aboard the Titanic when it struck an iceberg and sank With 1,513 passengers and crew. There were 705 survivors of whom fewer than 40 Americans are still living.

As the ship was going down, her brother-in-law, Charles Thomas, handed the woman's 3-month-old son, Essid [sic - Assad], to a woman in a lifeboat, Edwina McKenzie of California. The two women were reunited on NBC television's Today Show in 1972.  Charles Thomas was among the passengers lost at sea.

Mrs. Thomas was separated from her son in the ensuing rescue, but was reunited when they got to New York City. Essid died at age 20.  Survivors include a son, five daughters, a sister, 16 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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Related Biographies:

Bashīr Tannūs
Thamīn Tannūs
As'ad Tannūs

Relates to Place:

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, United States

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  1. David (232) said:

    CLARIFICATION: The two women were not actually reunited ON the 'Today Show.' I had done an interview with Mrs Thomas several days before April 15th,1972 and realized, when I saw the Today Show there was a possibility their stories were related. I called NBC which did get the women together in a private telephone call. That's when they learned Mrs Mackenzie was the woman who had 'rescued' Mrs Thomas' infant son. Ironically the two never did meet in person although Mrs Thomas' daughter tells me they did keep in touch with each other via letter. I was the News Director of WILK Radio in... Read full post

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2008) Thelma Thomas, 78, Survivor of Titanic (Washington Post, Wednesday 9th January 1974, ref: #8860, published 25 September 2008, generated 3rd August 2021 06:41:16 AM); URL :