John B. Thayer

John B. Thayer Biography.com

Business Leader(c. 1862–c. 1912)
An executive with the Pennsylvania Railroad, John B. Thayer was among the 1,500 people who died in the 1912 Titanic disaster and is remembered for his bravery.

Synopsis

An executive with the Pennsylvania Railroad, John B. Thayer was among the 1,500 people who perished in the Titanic disaster of 1912. Before boarding the doomed vessel, he had been traveling in Europe with his family. When disaster struck, helped the women and children onto the lifeboats, but refused to get on one himself, due to a shortage. He was survived by his wife, two daughters and two sons.

Profile

Businessman. An executive with the Pennsylvania Railroad, John B. Thayer was among the 1,500 people who perished in the Titanic disaster of 1912 and is remembered for his bravery. Before boarding the doomed vessel, he had been traveling in Europe with his wife Marian and their son, John B. ??Jack?? Thayer, Jr.

The Thayers got on the Titanic at Cherbourg, France, on April 10, 1912. Onboard, Thayer met with friend George Dunton Widener who ran his family??s thriving streetcar and railroad operations. On the night of April 14, the Thayers attended a private party in the ship??s a la carte restaurant thrown by Widener and his wife Eleanor. Other distinguished guests included the ship??s captain Edward J. Smith and Major Archibald Butt, an advisor to President William Taft.

Around 11:40 p.m. that night, the Titanic struck an iceberg. The ship was damaged and began to take on water. The Thayers and other passengers were told to put on life preservers, and the crew readied the lifeboats. Unprepared for such a situation, the Titanic did not have enough lifeboats for all of its passengers and crew. Thayer assisted with getting the women and children on the lifeboats, but he refused to get on one himself. Choosing to remain behind with George Widener, he put his wife on Lifeboat 4 with Madeleine Astor and Eleanor Widener. His son Jack Thayer managed to survive the ordeal by climbing on Collapsible Lifeboat B, which had been capsized while the crew tried to get it into the water. They were later rescued by the Carpathia, a ship that answered the Titanic??s distress call.

In addition to his wife and son, Thayer was survived by two daughters and another son. Less than two months after the disaster, Marian Thayer hosted Captain Arthur Henry Rostron of the Carpathia at a special luncheon at her family??s Philadelphia home. Several executives from the Pennsylvania Railroad and fellow Titanic widow Eleanor Widener were among the guests at the event.

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