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People & Events
Mary and Eugene Lynch


The dense fog that enveloped the Italy-bound "Republic" as it sailed out of the New York harbor was the thickest either of the Lynches had ever seen. Mary Lynch said to her husband, "It's as if we are walking blindfolded among a lot of trolley cars, with no one to put out a hand to guide us." The Lynches were headed for Italy, their first trip abroad.

The evening before they began what was to be a three-month European vacation to visit Italy, France, and Germany, Mary and Eugene Lynch were given a going-away party by Jeremiah J. McCarthy. The celebration was held at New York's Algonquin Hotel. Friends of Mrs. Lynch later recalled that Mary had expressed certain misgivings about the journey-saying she had heard it was "bad luck" to sail out on a Friday.

The Lynches, wealthy and well-known residents of Boston, Massachusetts, at the time (1909) had been married for twenty-six years. After working diligently for twenty years in the wholesale liquor business, Eugene Lynch owned a mansion-style home in Boston in which he and Mary lived. He had profitable real estate holdings in New York as well.

On the evening of their departure, as the couple said goodnight, Mrs. Lynch spoke fearful words to her husband: "Don't let the fog hurt me, will you, Gene?" He responded to her anxiety, and attempted to dispel it. "Be a good girl and go right to sleep," he said. "It is nonsense to think that any harm will come to us."

That night, the bow of a cargo ship, the "Florida," rammed into the Lynches' first-class cabin on the "Republic." Mary Lynch died shortly after impact. Mr. Lynch sustained broken legs and head injuries; a few days later he died from his injuries in a Brooklyn, New York, hospital. Although Mary Lynch's body had been placed in a hermetically-sealed casket while the "Republic" was still afloat, it eventually sank with the ship.


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