Louise Pope at the 80th Anniversary Convention of the Titanic Historical Society
|Born||Louise Gretchen Kink-Heilmann
April 8, 1908
|Died||August 25, 1992
|Parent(s)||Anton Kink and Luise Heilmann|
Louise Kink Pope (April 8, 1908 – August 25, 1992) was one of the last remaining survivors of the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912.
Louise Gretchen Kink was born on April 8, 1908 in Zurich, Switzerland to storekeeper Anton Kink and his wife, Luise Heilmann. In 1912, the Kinks decided to immigrate to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, along with Anton's brother, Vinzenz, and sister, Maria.
Louise and her parents boarded the RMS Titanic as third-class passengers on April 10, 1912, at Southampton, England. Anton and his brother were in a cabin on G-Deck while his wife, sister, and daughter occupied a cabin at the ship's stern.
The Titanic's collision with the iceberg at 11:40 pm on April 14 woke Anton and his brother and the two ran to the ship's welldeck where they clearly saw the iceberg. They returned to their cabin and dressed, barely finishing before water began to pour into their cabin. Anton ran to his wife's cabin and woke its occupants. The entire Kink family made their way to the boat's deck, but Maria and Vinzenz were lost in the crowd.
Louise and her mother were loaded into Lifeboat No. 2, but Anton had to remain on the deck. At the last minute, Anton jumped into the lifeboat as it was being lowered. In an interview appearing on April 24 in the Milwaukee Journal, Anton was quoted as saying:
"A sailor took my child and handed her into one of them [lifeboats]. My wife was also helped in by the sailors. I was touched upon the shoulder and asked to step back, whereupon my wife and child cried at the top of their voices at my being left behind. I ducked down, broke through those standing about and jumped into the boat as it was lowered."
Louise and her parents arrived in New York City aboard the RMS Carpathia on April 18 and spent the first four days in St. Vincent's Hospital. Anton's uncle sent the family money to purchase train tickets to Milwaukee and they departed New York City on April 22, arriving two days later.
Upon arriving in Milwaukee, Anton rented a farm where he and his family lived. In 1919, Anton and Luise divorced and Anton returned to his homeland, Graz, Austria, where he remarried. Luise herself remarried, but refused to discuss the Titanic disaster with anyone.
In 1932, Louise married Harold Pope and the couple had four children. They divorced shortly after the birth of their fourth child.
In her later years, Pope became more involved in Titanic-related activities. Shortly after the wreck of the Titanic was discovered in 1985 at the bottom of the Atlantic, she testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, urging protection of the site as a memorial.
In 1987, she joined several survivors at a convention in Wilmington, Delaware, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the great ocean liner's sinking. In 1988, she was present at another convention organized by the Titanic Historical Society held in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1990, Louise was guest of honor on Ellis Island as a plaque remembering those lost immigrating to the United States was formally dedicated. Despite suffering from tuberculosis, arthritis and breast cancer, Louise returned to Boston yet again in 1992 to participate in the Titanic Historical Society's convention marking the 80th anniversary of the maritime disaster. In April 1992, Louise was guest of honor in New Jersey at a Titanic-related play.
Louise died on August 25, 1992, from lung cancer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was 84 years old. Louise is buried next to her mother at Sunnyside Cemetery in Milwaukee. The cemetery is located on Hwy 74 between Lannon & Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. On the front of their gravestones are the following words: "American Immigrants, Survivors of the Titanic Disaster, April 15, 1912".
- "Mr Anton Kink". Encyclopedia Titanica. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
- "Miss Luise Gretchen Kink-Heilmann". Encyclopedia Titanica. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
- "Survivor of Titanic Backs Bill To Safeguard Historic Wreck". The New York Times. October 30, 1985. Retrieved May 24, 2009.