Cedar Rapids Millionaire Died On Titanic
It's been over a hundred years since the Titanic set off on it's maiden and final voyage. Also, it's been almost twenty-five years since we all started collectively screaming, "Never let go, Jack!" At Leonardo Di Caprio.
It turns out that Iowa has quite a few interesting connections to the Titanic. One of the last survivors of the Titanic lived and died in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Seventeen passengers actually listed Iowa as either their final destination or mentioned that they were from the Hawkeye State. Only two of those individuals ended up surviving the shipwreck.
One unlikely passenger on that fated ship was Walter Douglas. Douglas was an executive for Quaker Oats. His father actually founded the company after immigrating to the United States. Born in Waterloo, Douglas ran this business with his brother until he died that fateful night. They also founded the Cedar Rapids company now known as Penford Products.
Official documents report Douglas and his family lived in Cedar Rapids. He became known as a "captain of industry" in Cedar Rapids due to him amassing approximately $4 million dollars. In 1912, Douglas retired and made a trip to Europe with his wife Mahala and their maid to pick up some furniture.
On their journey back home, they bought tickets for the Titanic. When the ship collided with the iceberg, Douglas and his wife were actually in their cabin. Everything seemed fine until people started to gather in the halls with life preservers. That's when they finally figured out something was wrong.
Douglas quickly helped get his wife and their maid to safety. It was much easier for them to hop on a lifeboat because of their status as first class passengers. He made sure that both of the women were safely on the lifeboat and headed towards safety. The Waterloo man refused to actually go on one or try to weasel his way onto a raft saying,
"No, I must be a gentleman."