|Winnifred Quick Van Tongerloo|
|Born||Winnifred Vera Quick
January 23, 1904
Plymouth, England, UK
|Died||July 4, 2002
Lansing, Michigan, USA
|Spouse(s)||Alois Van Tongerloo (m.1923-1987, his death.)|
|Parent(s)||Frederick Quick and Jane Richards|
|Relatives||Phyllis Quick (sister)|
Winnifred Vera Quick (23 January 1904 –- 4 July 2002) was one of the last four remaining survivors of the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912.
Winnifred was born in Plymouth, England in 1904 to Frederick Charles Quick, a plasterer, and his wife, Jane Richards Quick. A second daughter, Phyllis May, was born on July 27, 1909.
In 1910, Winnifred's father decided to emigrate from England to Detroit, Michigan to make a better life for his family. He travelled alone, and would later send for his family when he was financially secure. In the meantime, they would live with Jane's mother in Plymouth. By early 1912, Frederick was established and secure and sent for them. Soon after Jane booked passage for herself, Winnifred, and Phyllis, she was notified that her ship's sailing had been cancelled due to a coal strike, but that they would be transferred to the Titanic which was set to sail on April 10, 1912.
On April 14, Winnifred and her family went to bed shortly after 9:30 pm. Neither her, Jane, or Phyllis, felt the ship's collision with the iceberg at 11:40 p.m. It was only after a passenger knocked on their cabin door telling them there had been an accident, did they realize something was wrong. Not thinking the ship was seriously damaged, Jane took her time getting dressed. A steward peeked his head inside the cabin and seeing how slow Jane was getting ready, demanded them to get their lifebelts on as the ship had struck an iceberg and was sinking. Winnifred and Phyllis were awakened and dressed, and along with Jane, walked up five flights of stairs to A-Deck. Up on deck, an unknown gentleman helped calm Winnifred, who was crying hysterically, and fastened Phyllis with a lifebelt. Jane put Winnifred and Phyllis in Boat 11, but she was initially denied entry herself when the man in charge uttered, 'only room for the children'. Jane reportedly told him, 'either we go together or we stay together'. He finally let her join them; she was the last one allowed in, which according to her, held roughly 50 people. Even in there, Winnifred continued to cry until someone noticed that her shoes had fallen off and her feet were sitting in the freezing water.
Winnifred finally fell asleep but was awoken when people around her cheered as the ship RMS Carpathia became visible. She and Phyllis were put in a sack and pulled to deck. She later recalled seeing many survivors weeping and even observed burial at sea for several passengers who had died in the lifeboats. Her father heard the news of the sinking, but received a wireless message that his family was safe. He was at the dock in New York City on April 18, when the Carpathia arrived. They spent the night as guests of the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society. The following morning, they left New York City on the New York Express and arrived in Detroit on April 20.
Jane died in 1965 at age 84 and Phyllis died in 1954.
Career and marriage
Winnifred left school after graduating from the eighth grade. She worked in various jobs including making candy and as a sales clerk at a department store. In 1918, she met Alois Van Tongerloo (1899-1987.) and they were married in 1923. He was a master carpenter. They had five children Bob, Jack, Jim, Jeanette and Gloria. Alois died in 1987.
In 1966, Alois retired and they travelled throughout the USA, reportedly visiting every state except Hawaii. When asked if she would ever make a return trip back to England, she replied, "No! I don't like big boats! I like to go in the water up to my neck but not on top of the water over my head!"  Although she didn't mind talking about her experiences on the Titanic, she never attended any organized gatherings of survivors.
Winnifred died on July 4, 2002 in East Lansing, Michigan at age 98. She was one of the last five remaining survivors, the last survivor who did not lose a relative in the sinking, and was preceded in death by Alois, and two of their children. Winnifred was survived by three of her five children Jack, Jeanette and Gloria, nine grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.
- Winnifred Van Tongerloo, Titanic Passenger, dies at 98
- Titanic Historical Society Article
- Encyclopedia Titanica Biography
|Oldest living survivor of the RMS Titanic
January 20, 1997 – July 4, 2002