Ruth (Becker) Blanchard

Ruth Elizabeth (Becker) Blanchard (1899 - 1990)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Ruth Elizabeth Blanchard formerly Becker
Born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Indiamap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 6 May 1921 (to about 1943) in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, USAmap
Mother of [private daughter (1920s - unknown)], and
Died in Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California, USAmap
Profile last modified 25 Aug 2019 | Created 14 Feb 2014
This page has been accessed 3,469 times.



Ruth (Becker) Blanchard was aboard the RMS Titanic.

Early life

Ruth Elizabeth Becker was born to missionaries Allen and his wife Nellie Becker on Saturday, October 28, 1899 in Guntur, India. She was the oldest of four siblings: a younger brother Luther, who passed away shortly before his second birthday, and two siblings who would join Ruth and their mother on the Titanic, Marion, and Richard.

In the early months of 1912, Ruth's little brother, Richard, contracted an illness which the Indian doctors couldn't treat. They advised the family to take Richard to the United States to preserve his life. Nellie Becker decided to take her children to Benton Harbor, Michigan to seek treatment for her son, while Allen Becker stayed behind in India, preparing to join them in a year. [1]


On Wednesday, April 10, 1912, 12-year-old Ruth Becker boarded the Titanic with her mother and siblings at Southampton, England, using a second class ticket, number 230136, which had cost them £39. Throughout their stay on Titanic, they would reside in cabin number: F4.

Ruth later remembered that her mother had misgivings about the voyage and that speaking to the purser reassured her of the safety of the vessel.

On the first few days of their journey, Ruth watched after her siblings while taking in her surroundings, noting how new everything looked.[2]

After Titanic's fateful collision with the iceberg, Nellie left the cabin and asked a steward what had happened. He assured her that there was nothing wrong, "We've had a little accident. They're going to fix it, and we'll be going on in a few minutes."

Rather than believe the man's word that they were safe, Nellie took her three children to the boat deck. She helped her children put coats over their nightclothes and their shoes and stockings on, but did not put on lifebelts. As they left their cabin, Ruth noticed the noise of the myriads of people who ran throughout the ship, running up toward the decks or trying to determine what had happened. Finally, the went into a room where there were many women in all types of clothing who seemed distressed. After about five minutes they left the room and Nellie sent Ruth back to their cabin to retrieve blankets.

They queued to board lifeboat 11 and the crewman in charge of the boat, Sixth officer James Paul Moody, helped safely load Marion and Richard into the boat. Nellie wished to follow, but James flatly refused, though eventually consented, allowing Nellie to board after she pleaded to follow her two youngest children. As Ruth returned with the blankets, she saw that her family was being lowered without her. Nellie screamed at her, ordering her to board another lifeboat.[3]

Ruth, who wasn't at all afraid at this point, obeyed and walked over to lifeboat 13 and politely asked if she could join that boat. James Moody agreed and "tossed" her into it. [4]

As lifeboat 13 was lowered into the sea, it was very nearly crushed by lifeboat 15, which was being lowered too quickly. Fortunately, a crewman cut the ropes binding lifeboat 13 to the Titanic, and narrowly avoided the collision. [5]

As the lifeboat rowed away from the Titanic, Ruth looked up and saw men, women, and children standing at the railing on all decks looking down at them. When they finally reached a safe distance away, Ruth looked at the Titanic, in awe of its beauty, as it hadn't yet sunk far and was illuminated with all of its lights. As the Titanic sunk slowly, Ruth watched the people on the decks and when it finally sunk, she saw and heard the people jumping from the decks and screaming for help, a sound she would never forget.[6]

While waiting for rescue, Ruth bonded with a young Polish woman who was separated from her baby, despite not understanding German. She rejoiced later, when she heard that the woman was reunited with her child.[7]


After rowing throughout the night (to help maintain body temperature), Ruth and her lifeboat companions watched as the Carpathia arrived at dawn, 4:30 in the morning. The ship shot off rockets as it approached, and Ruth and her companions waved and screamed at the ship in an effort to be seen.[8]

When boarding the Carpathia, Ruth had to be tied into the sling because she was so cold that she couldn't grip the ropes. She spent the next several hours searching for her family, until a woman asked if her name was Ruth Becker. After confirming that it was, she was reunited with her family.

The Carpathia arrived in New York City on April 18. After disembarking the ship, several reporters surrounded them and began to ask Nellie questions. Nellie buried her face in her hands and asked them to direct their questions to Ruth, who then answered on behalf of her mother. [9]

Shortly thereafter, the Beckers continued their journey to Benton Harbor, Michigan by train, where Allen joined them in 1913. [10]

Schooling and Family

Ruth attended a high school in Ohio, then later graduated from Wooster College. For a while, she taught high school in Kansas, then returned to Benton Harbor to teach grade school.

Eventually, she married one of her former classmates, Daniel Blanchard. They had three children: Jeanne (1925-1993, later Lehman), Roger Allen (1931-1958) and Richard (1933-2010). The couple divorced after twenty-two years of marriage.

Ruth and her family were found on the 1940 Census, living in Manhattan City, Riley County, Kansas, United States.[11]

Ruth refused to speak about her experiences on the Titanic for the first several years after the disaster. She was so quiet about it, that her children didn't know of her experiences until they were older. It wasn't until she retired to Santa Barbara, California, that she felt comfortable enough to speak about her experience more openly and allowed herself to be interviewed several times.[12]

Later Life

Ruth joined other survivors at a Titanic Historical Society convention, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1982. The convention was held to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the tragedy. She also attended two other conventions in 1987 and 1988.

It wasn't until March, 1990 that Ruth returned to the sea for her first voyage since the Titanic. This journey was a cruise to Mexico.[13]


Ruth Becker Blanchard passed away on July 6, 1990 due to malnutrition. She was 90 years old. She was cremated and on April 16, 1994, her ashes were scattered into the Atlantic Ocean, over the exact place where the Titanic sunk 82 years earlier.[14]


  1. [Wikipedia Page] Information about Ruth Becker
  2. [Encyclopedia Titanica] A website dedicated to information about the Titanic
  3. Titanic, The Survivor's Story, 1997 Greystone Communications, Inc
  4. [Wikipedia Page] Information about Ruth Becker
  6. Titanic, The Survivor's Story, 1997 Greystone Communications, Inc
  8. Titanic, The Survivor's Story, 1997 Greystone Communications, Inc
  9. Titanic, 1998 A&E
  10. [Wikipedia Page] Information about Ruth Becker
  11. [1940 US Federal Census] Ruth Blanchard, Ward 7, Manhattan, Manhattan City, Riley, Kansas, United States, Female, Age: 40, Married, White, Wife to head of house, Birthplace: India, Birth Year (Estimated): 1900, Last Place of Residence: Same House
  13. [Wikipedia Page] Information about Ruth Becker
  14. [Wikipedia Page] Information about Ruth Becker

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Rejected matches › Elizabeth May Baker (1899-)

Ruth is 21 degrees from Alice Paul, 22 degrees from Michael Schell and 16 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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Categories: Children on Titanic | RMS Carpathia | RMS Titanic | Survivors of the Titanic | 2nd Class Passengers on Titanic