Submersible Pilot’s Spouse Is Descended From a Famous Titanic Couple

Wendy Rush, the wife of Stockton Rush, the OceanGate chief executive who was piloting the submersible that disappeared Sunday during a dive to the Titanic wreckage, is a descendant of two first-class passengers who died when the ocean liner sank in 1912, archival records show.

Ms. Rush is a great-great-granddaughter of the retailing magnate Isidor Straus and his wife, Ida, two of the wealthiest people aboard the Titanic for its first voyage. Mr. Straus, born in 1845, was a co-owner of Macy’s department store.

Ms. Rush, born Wendy Hollings Weil, married Stockton Rush in 1986, according to a New York Times wedding announcement. Her LinkedIn page says that she has participated in three OceanGate expeditions to the Titanic wreckage in the last two years; that she serves as the company’s communications director; and that she is a longtime board member of the company’s charitable foundation.

Ms. Rush could not immediately be reached for comment for this item.

Ms. Rush’s ancestors on the Titanic are perhaps best known for their tragic love story. Survivors of the disaster recalled seeing Isidor Straus refuse a seat on a lifeboat when women and children were still waiting to flee the sinking liner. Ida Straus, his wife of four decades, declared that she would not leave her husband, and the two were seen standing arm in arm on the Titanic’s deck as the ship went down.

A fictionalized version of the Strauses’ story was immortalized in pop culture by the director James Cameron, whose 1997 film about the disaster features a poignant shot of an older couple embracing in bed as the waters rise around their cabin.

Ms. Rush is descended from of one of the Strauses’ daughters, Minnie, who married Dr. Richard Weil in 1905. Their son, Richard Weil Jr., later served as president of Macy’s New York, and his son, Dr. Richard Weil III, is Ms. Rush’s father, according to Joan Adler, the executive director of the Straus Historical Society.

Isidor Straus’s body was found at sea roughly two weeks after the Titanic sank, New York Times archives show. Ida Straus’s remains have never been recovered.

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