John Gerald Rooney was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England on 13 April 1893 and baptised Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church on 26 April. Hailing from a Roman Catholic family of Irish descent, he was the son of Francis Rooney, a freight clerk, and Anna King, one of their eight children.
By the time of the 1911 census the Rooney family lived at 8 Casterton Street in Wavertree, Liverpool; John was described as a draper’s porter. Shortly after, however, he followed in the footsteps of his elder brother Francis and went to sea, serving as a steward aboard the Ivernia later that year.
In April 1912 he was serving as a waiter aboard the eastward-bound voyage of the Carpathia when that ship rescued the survivors of the Titanic.
John Rooney continued working at sea and served with the merchant fleet throughout WWI and for part of WWII, serving ultimately aboard the Queen Elizabeth as a bedroom steward.
He died from tuberculosis whilst ashore in Sydney, Australia on 10 August 1942.