George D Widener
June 16, 1861 - April 15, 1912
George D Widener Background
The best known of Philadelphia passengers aboard the Titanic were Mr and Mrs George Dunstan Widener. Mr Widener was the son of Peter A.B. Widener and, like his father, was recogneized as one of the foremost financiers of Philadelphia as well as a leader in society there. Mr Widener married Miss Eleanor Elkins, a daughter of the late William L. Elkins. They made their home with his father at the latter's fine place at Eastbourne, ten miles from Philadelphia. Mr Widener was keenly interested in horses and was a constant exhibitor at horse shows. In business he was recognized as his father's chief adviser in managing the latter's extensive traction interests.
Mrs Widener was said to be the possessor of one of the finest collections of jewels in the world, given generously by her husband. One string of pearls in the collection was reported to be worth $250,000.
Widener's Fate With Destiny
Mr and Mrs Wideners, with their adult son Harry, went abroad for two months prior to the disaster, Mr Widener desiring to inspect some of his bussiness interests in Europe. At the opening of the London Museum by King George on March 21st, 1912, it was announced that Mrs Widener had presented to the museum thirty silver plates once the property of Nell Gwyn (17th Century English actress who was a long-time mistress of King Charles II). The family headed to Paris, France, where they booked their first-class tickets on the Titanic. Following the collision with the iceberg, George and his son helped Mrs widener and her maid into the lifeboats. Father and son went down with the ship and their bodies were never recovered.
Mrs Widener and her maid were rescued from Lifeboat # 4 by the steamship R.M.S. Carpathia.
Initial reports from the wireless messages was that the body of Mr Widener had been recovered, but it turned out to be the body of his valet, Edward Keating, who had some of Mr Widener's papers on him.
The Widener's two other children (George Jr and Eleanor) were not aboard the Titanic.
A memorial service was held for father and son at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, where stained glass windows were dedicated in their memory.
It is beleived that P.A.B. Widener (George's father) was a director of the International Mercantile Marine (I.M.M.), the company which owned the Titanic.