Last American survivor of the Titanic disaster dies

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sinking of the Titanic

On May 6, 2006, Lillian Asplund, the last American survivor of the Titanic, died in her home in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. She was 99 years old.

"She went to sleep peacefully," said vice president of the Nordgren Memorial Chapel Ronald E. Johnson, which is located in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Barbara Joyce West Dainton and Elizabeth Gladys "Millvina" Dean are the two remaining survivors living in England, however they were too young to have a memory of the Titanic sinking.

"I could see the icebergs for a great distance around. It was cold and the little ones were cuddling close to one another and trying to keep from under the feet of the many excited people … My little girl, Lillie, accompanied me, and my husband said 'Go ahead, we will get into one of the other boats.' He smiled as he said it," said Asplund's mother shortly after arriving in Massachusetts after the disaster. Throughout her life, Ms. Lillian Asplund avoided talking about her survival.

The mother of Asplund, Selma and her three-year-old brother Felix were also on the ship and both survived. Her father and three other brothers were lost at sea. Selma died in 1964 on the 52nd anniversary of the disaster. She was 91 years old. Lilian's brother Felix died on March 1, 1983 at the age of 73.

The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912 when the ship struck an iceberg tearing a hole in the side of the hull. At the time, it was the biggest ship ever built. The Titanic Museum’s collection in Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, was the first permanent exhibition of rare Titanic artifacts and documents donated by survivors.

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