Pilot of Titanic submersible was married to descendent of Jewish couple who died aboard the ocean liner

Survivors said Isidor refused to get on a lifeboat when women and children were still waiting to be rescued and Ida stayed with her husband.

By Shiryn Ghermezian, Algemeiner

Stockton Rush, who piloted the OceanGate tourist submersible called Titan that went to explore the RMS Titanic shipwreck and went missing and then imploded, killing Rush and his four passengers, was married to a descendent of a Jewish couple who was among the wealthiest people to die aboard the ocean liner when it sank in 1912, The New York Times reported.

Rush, who was also the CEO and founder of OceanGate, was 61 when pronounced dead on Thursday by the US Coast Guard after his vessel was found in pieces at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean near the Titanic shipwreck this week. His wife, Wendy Rush, is the great-great granddaughter of the late retail giant Isidor Straus and his wife Ida. Isidor co-owned the Macy’s department store and was married to Ida for four decades.

One of Isidor and Ida’s daughters, Minnie, married Dr. Richard Weil in 1905 and their son, Richard Weil Jr., who was Wendy’s grandfather, later become president of Macy’s New York.

When the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in April 1912, the Straus’ reportedly chose to go down together, arm in arm, on the sinking ship, The New York Times explained. Survivors said Isidor refused to get on a lifeboat when women and children were still waiting to be rescued and Ida stayed with her husband, insisting that she would not leave him behind.

Isidor’s body was found at sea several weeks later while Ida’s was never recovered, according to The New York Times. Roughly 700 people survived the sinking of the Titanic out of the approximately 2,200 passengers and crew on board the ship, The Associated Press reported.

James Cameron, who directed Titanic, featured a fictional version of Isidor and Ida in his 1997 movie about the sinking ship by including a scene toward the end of the film that shows an older couple lying in bed and embracing each other as the waters rise around them on the ocean liner.

Wendy married Stockton in 1986 and in 2009, he founded OceanGate Inc., a private Washington-based company that provides crewed submersibles for commercial, research and military purposes. This was Titan’s third journey to the Titanic.

After the Titan was reported missing on Sunday night, an international rescue mission was launched immediately. There were additional concerns about the vessel’s passengers running out of their oxygen supply by Thursday morning. Search efforts continued on Thursday for clues to explain what happened to the submersible after it imploded underwater, the AP reported. Rear Adm. John Mauger, of the First Coast Guard District, told the news outlet that the likelihood of finding or recovering remains was unknown.

Others who died aboard the Titan include British billionaire Hamish Harding, French Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, prominent Pakistan businessman Dawood and his son. There were no survivors.