Oscar Palmquist: His Death Remains a Mystery
The Titanic International Society will unveil a headstone to Titanic survivor Oscar Palmquist in Bridgeport’s Mountain Grove Cemetery at 11:00 AM on Saturday, June 29th.
Oscar Palmquist was a Swedish immigrant who survived the tragic sinking of the Titanic in 1912. He disappeared in March 1925 and his body was found by Parks Department employees floating in Beardsley Park Reservoir on April 18, 1925. Police and the Medical Examiner ruled his death an accidental drowning.
The family and the minister of Palmquist’s Salem Lutheran Church disputed the cause of death since Oscar’s Titanic experience left him with a morbid fear of water. They believe Oscar Palmquist was the victim of foul play, probably perpetrated by a co-worker whose wife had become romantically attached to Oscar, a bachelor. Despite these protests, no autopsy was ever conducted and Oscar’s remains were quietly interred in Bridgeport’s Mountain Grove Cemetery.
Oscar Palmquist’s grave was never marked with a headstone and his story faded from memory. But his tragic death captured the imagination of many: to have survived the Titanic disaster, only to be found dead in a park pond thirteen years later.
Palmquist’s story garnered attention last year as the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s sinking was observed and an appeal was launched to remember Oscar with a granite headstone to honor his memory and recognize his connection to the Titanic.
The headstone will be blessed by Elizabeth Frohrip, Associate in Ministry of Salem Lutheran Church. Mayor Bill Finch is scheduled to attend and welcome attendees to the city.
Mr. Palmquist’s family has been located and will be part of the memorial unveiling and dedication ceremony. The public is invited to attend the ceremony as Oscar Palmquist is recognized as one of Bridgeport’s Titanic survivors. The ceremony will be held in the Cemetery’s Read Memorial Chapel, after which attendees may drive to the gravesite for the dedication.
The June 29th commemoration has been spearheaded by Ms. Shelley Dziedzic, President Emeritus of The Titanic International Society, a not-for-profit organization based in Midland Park, New Jersey. The costs of the headstone have been paid for by Society members, family and friends. The Society has recently provided headstones for two other Titanic survivors who were buried without grave markers.