Meeting of May 3, 2012

Attendance (15): Jim Leyhane, Murray Forth, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Terry Brewer, Russ Edberg, Pat Bailey, Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Debbie Rodriguez, Doris Calamaras, Julius Frankel, Phil Egan, Charlie Foote.

Guests (6): Maggie, Jeremy and Brian Forth; Mary and Kevin Drumm; Peter Hess.

Announcements/Business:

• The August 16 and 30 summer casual dates remain open for hosting. Please see President Jim if you wish to host or coordinate an event.

• At least two more Eagle Scouts are “in the pipeline,” working on final public service projects.

• The 32nd annual Rotary Run planning is coming among well. We have reservations for paticipants for all but the special needs category. Peter Brown, event coordinator, said we will need to do a “packet party” before the May 20 event.

• Mark Hoyt will be representing the SRC Club at the May 18-19 District Convention in Lake George. If you wish to attend all or any part of the event, see President Jim ASAP.

Program: Aboard the Titanic with an Albany Businessman

PHOTO BY BILL DOWD

Peter Brown introduced Peter Hess (center), president/CEO of Albany Steel and an amateur Titanic historian.

The RMS Titanic sank 100 years ago, April 15,  1912, on its maiden voyage. The ship was eight stories high and 882 feet long, the largest ship ever built at that time and supposedly unsinkable.

Peter Hess’s talk centered was told from the vantage point of Gilbert M. Tucker Jr., an Albany businessman, who was a passenger on the ship, in the company of three women and the Pomeranian puppy of one of them.

Because of a British coal miners’ strike which limited ship traffic, all were booked on the Titanic for their return to the U.S. because the White Star Lines decided to take all the fuel coal from its other ships to give to the Titanic.

When the ship struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on a very dark night, a Mrs. Lily Potter was one passenger who recognized the danger. She and her daughter, Olive, and daughter’s college friend Margaret Hayes were thus prepared to get into the first available lifeboat, along with Mr. Tucker, while many other passengers had no idea of the dangerous occurrence.

He also spoke about a crew member who survived and wound up living in Albany. Both he and Mr Tucker are buried in Albany Rural Cemetery.

Hess said many of the popular media versions of the Titanic story are incorrect in depicting it as a matter of too few lifeboats and some men dressing as women to be able to get them into the lifeboats. In reality, many people of both genders refused to get into the boats, and the average boat was barely half full.

The dog traveling with the women was carried off the Carpathia, which had picked up the lifeboat passengers, when it docked in New York Harbor. Tucker had the dog swaddled in a blanket and reporters on the scene thought he was holding a baby. The story was reported that way around the globe, enhanced by fanciful reporting that it was a baby thrust into the hands of the people on the last lifeboat by a mother who could not get on board. In reality, it was the dog, it had been handed down in the first lifeboat, and there was no selfless mother trying to save her child.

Published testimony at the time had the ship breaking apart as it sank with the front half going down first. Until recently many believed it sank as a whole. Peter took many questions about the sinking after an excellent presentation.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, May 10, Holiday Inn Express. Bill Dowd will present a slide show program on how the media of the day helps set public fashions.


Go here for the Events Calendar.


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