Learn more about Lillian Asplund
|Born|| October 21, 1906 |
|Died|| May 6, 2006 |
|Parents||Carl Oscar Vilhelm Gustafsson Asplund and Selma Augusta Emilia Johansson|
Lillian Gertrud Asplund (October 21 1906 – May 6 2006) was the last American survivor of the Titanic disaster. She was thought to be the last Titanic survivor with actual memories of the sinking, as the remaining survivors were less than one year old at the time. A passenger in third class, she escaped from the sinking ship on lifeboat 15 , with her mother Selma and younger brother Felix.
Asplund was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and her family had been visiting her grandmother in Alseda, Småland, Sweden prior to boarding the Titanic to return home. Lillian was five years old at the time. She was the only daughter in the family. She had two elder brothers, Filip Oscar (1898), Clarence Gustaf Hugo (1902), a fraternal twin brother, Carl Edgar, and a younger brother, Edvin Rojj Felix (1909).
Asplund kept very quiet about her memories of the Titanic, sharing her mother’s grief about the tragedy and adamantly shunning any form of media attention. In an interview in 1989 she described how she, her mother and little brother entered lifeboat 15 through a window. Tumult occurred as the lifeboat was lowered before the rest of the children had come aboard (according to records the lifeboat had a nominal capacity of 64 and carried 65 passengers). She described her father helping her into the boat and seeing her father, twin brother and two older brothers looking down at the lifeboat as it was lowered from the ship. Carl Sr. and his three remaining sons died in the sinking.
Selma Asplund, who lost three sons and her husband in the sinking of the White Star Liner during 1912, told her daughter it was wrong to talk about the disaster, and accordingly Lillian never publicly spoke about her memories. On the night of the sinking, recounted in an interview given by Selma Asplund following their arrival in the United States, the family made for the upper decks after learning of the collision with the iceberg and in her own words, "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."
In the confusion after the disaster, a Worcester newspaper reported that both Mr. and Mrs. Asplund had been saved, along with Clarence, Lillian and Felix, and that Filip and Carl had drowned. A later report said that Selma and her "two babies" had been taken to a local hospital, and that Mr. Asplund and Clarence were apparently at another location.  A later report confirmed that neither Carl Sr. nor Clarence were among the surivors.  Carl Sr.'s body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett (#142) and returned to Worcester, where he was buried in the All Faiths Cemetery there.
 Later life
Lillian Asplund worked in secretarial jobs in the Worcester area, and retired early to look after her mother, who apparently never got over the tragedy, dying on the anniversary of the sinking in 1964. She and her brother, Felix (who died in 1983), never married.
Asplund died at her home in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts at the age of 99. She is buried in All Faiths Cemetery in Worcester, where her father's body was buried in 1912.
Following her death, only two of the 712 Titanic survivors are still alive, both living in England.
 External links
- USA Today: Final American survivor of Titanic disaster dies (5/7/06)
- Last US Titanic survivor is dead
- Encyclopedia Titanica: Lillian Gertrud Asplundde:Lillian Gertrud Asplund