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Mrs. O'Grady Often Told of Tragedy in Which 1,500 Lost Lives

Mrs. Emily O'Grady, 52, of 553 Prospect at Ridgefield, survivor of the sinking of the White Star liner Titanic by an iceberg on April 14, 1912, when 1,500 persons lost their lives, died at 11:15 o'clock Wednesday night at her home. Mrs. O'Grady had not been in good health for 7 years and took a turn for the worse a few months ago.

Mrs. O'Grady was born in England and left her home in Somersetshire in 1912 to visit a sister in Skaneateles, N.Y. She was a young woman on her first ocean voyage on a ship that was described by its owners as the greatest vessel afloat.

The Titanic, the world's largest ship, was making its maiden voyage to New York, and was carrying 2,300 passengers. The first 4 days of the trip were uneventful although warnings came by wireless that the Arctic ice pack was breaking up earlier than usual that year.

Early on the morning of Apr. 14, a wireless message from the vessel to stations in New York City state the ship was 1,284 miles east of Sandy Hook, and was expected to dock in 2 days.


At 11:45 o'clock that night a ----illegible----- slightly to one side. Mrs. O'Grady had retired at the time and remained in her cabin until about 15 minutes later when passengers were notified to come on deck. This delay was occasioned by the confidence of the passengers in the watertight bulkheads but the ship's officers soon realized the gravity of the situation. Edward Dorkings of ----illegible---England, another passenger, helped Mrs. O'Grady on with her lifebelt and to the outer decks. There they managed to push through the crowds along the railing to a lifeboat.

"I shall never forget the sad scenes on board," Mrs. O'Grady said in recounting her experience to a Hudson Dispatch reporter several years ago. "Wives were torn from their husbands and children from their parents."


"I saw officers shoot some men who tried to get in lifeboats," she said, "and others fall into the water when they attempted to get into the already crowded boats."

As her lifeboat pulled away from the sinking Titanic, Mrs. O'Grady was able to hear the ship's band playing "Nearer My God to Thee." Several hours after contact with the iceberg, the vessel's stern rose almost vertically, the lights went out and the vessel plunged to the bottom.

Mrs. O'Grady, in her story taken from Hudson Dispatch files, said there was silence, as the ship plunged, and then followed wailing cries from the thousand or more that were thrown into the icy water.

During the night, she was able to make out the outline of the huge iceberg that had sent the ship to the bottom. The women huddled in the boat were suffering from the cold but along about 8 o'clock the following morning, a ship was sighted on the horizon. It was the SS Carpathia which carefully made its way through the wreckage strewn sea to pick up boatload after boatload of survivors.


The Carpathia then headed for New York where the survivors were taken to St. Vincent's Hospital. At the hospital, Mrs. O'Grady met one of the survivors, Miss Sarah Roth of New York City, and later attended her wedding when she became Mrs. Daniel Iles. Mrs. O'Grady was not injured but was treated for shock. She was permitted to leave the hospital the following day.

Mrs. O'Grady became acquainted with Mrs. Margaret O'Neill, 182 Pearsall St., Jersey City, as a result of a newspaper story relating that Mrs. O'Neill also was one of the Titanic survivors. The 2 women held several reunions on anniversaries of the sinking.

Mrs. O'Grady had been a resident of Ridgefield for 20 years and also lived in Skaneateles, N.Y., and York, Pa. She was active in affairs of St. Matthew's Roman Catholic Church in Ridgefield, and was a member of the Rosary Society of the church.

The funeral will be from the residence Monday morning with a solemn mass of requiem in St. Matthew's Church at 9 o'clock. Interment will be in Mount Carmel Cemetery, Tenafly.

Mrs. O'Grady is survived by her husband, Michael; 3 sons, Thomas, Michael and John, of Ridgefield; a daughter, Mrs. Margaret Umland of Paterson; 2 brothers, Harry Badman of Canada, and Arthur, in England; and 3 sisters, Mrs. Caroline Small and Mrs. Pauline Arthur of Skaneateles, N.Y.; and a third in England.

McCorry Brothers of Cliffside Park is in charge of funeral arrangements.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2003) TITANIC SINKING SURVIVOR DIES IN BERGEN HOME (Jersey Journal, Wednesday 17th July 1946, ref: #353, published 28 August 2003, generated 27th July 2021 04:17:59 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-sinking-survivor-dies-bergen-home.html