8 bells for Millvina Dean, Phil Bolger and John E Connelly.

Millvina Dean, the last living survivor of the Titanic disaster, with a painting of the vessel. Photograph: John Stillwell/AP

Millvana Dean, last survivor of the Titanic passes away at 97. From the Guardian UK website:

The last living survivor of the Titanic, ­Millvina Dean, has died at the age of 97 in Southampton after catching pneumonia.

As a two-month-old baby, Dean was the youngest passenger on board the giant liner when it sank on its maiden voyage with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.

Her parents had decided to leave England for America, where her father had family in Kansas and hoped to open a tobacco shop.

The Deans had not chosen to be aboard the Titanic, but because of a coal strike they were transferred to the ship and boarded it as third-class passengers at Southampton.

Her father felt the crunch of the ship’s collision with the iceberg on the night of 14 April 1912, and went up to investigate. He returned to their cabin telling his wife to dress the children and go up on deck.

Dean, her mother, and brother were placed in lifeboat 10 and were among the first off the liner out of the 706 passengers and crew who escaped.

Her father, however, remained aboard and was among those who drowned when the giant ship finally went down in the early hours of next day.

A youthful Phil Bolger ca 1949 enjoying a summer of deep draft sailing in an Alden Triangle sloop.

Boat creator ‘leaves on own terms’ Designer Phil Bolger’s suicide is ‘part of his narrative,’ wife says. From The Gloucester Times website:

His wife and business partner, Susanne Altenburger, said yesterday his decision to take his own life was a long-contemplated, reasoned and principled act — though Bolger gave her no advance warning or hints in recent behavior.

“How he died is part of his narrative,” Altenburger said. “He died an extraordinarily violent, purposeful and soberly considered death.”

Gloucester-born and raised, Bolger designed 680 boats, including the world’s smallest dinghy, “the folding schooner,” a novelty innovation of convenience, as well as the HMS Rose, which was given celebrity in the 2003 movie, “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” He was in reasonable health for his 81 years, but felt himself slipping mentally, Altenburger said.

“He was perhaps the best and most diverse small boat designer in the world,” said his friend, the Gloucester and naval historian Joe Garland.

NY Times obituary May 31, 2009

John Connelly, in this 1994 photo, poses at his Gateway Clipper Fleet's Monongahela River dock in Pittsburgh. His budding fleet of excursion vessels in Pittsburgh eventually grew to include a 1,000-seat boat. AP photo

Restless Entrepreneur Spawned Empire, From Gambling Boats to Vatican Trinkets. From the Wall Street Journal:

John E. Connelly, once called the “godfather of make-a-deposit-get-a-toaster bank marketing” by Fortune magazine, presided over a business empire that included pleasure cruises and riverboat gambling, as well as the “Apples for Students” project that put Macintosh computers into schools across the U.S.

Mr. Connelly had interests in everything from cosmetics to hotels. He helped lead the cleanups of waterfronts in St. Louis and his hometown of Pittsburgh to spur his river-based boat businesses.

In 1958, he launched a pleasure cruise on the Monongahela Wharf with a 100-passenger boat he’d imported from Erie, Pa., the Gateway Clipper. His budding fleet of excursion vessels in Pittsburgh eventually grew to include a 1,000-seat boat, as well as a separate New York City-based gourmet dining excursion cruise business, World Yacht Ltd.

When Iowa became the first state since Nevada and New Jersey to legalize casino gambling, Mr. Connelly leapt in to start what was reputed to be the nation’s first riverboat gambling operation of modern times. After opening his first casino aboard his side-wheeler, the President, in Davenport in 1991, he took President Casinos Inc. public and later opened additional gambling boats in St. Louis and Biloxi, Miss. But the business environment for riverboat gambling tightened during the 1990s, as more states legalized casinos and bigger players entered the game. President Casinos was liquidated in 2002.

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Peter A. Mello

Husband, father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

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