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Titanic survivor’s family is thankful for new grave marker in Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 October 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – The great-nieces of Lillian Bentham, the Holley teen who survived the sinking of the Titanic in April 1912, attended Saturday’s Ghost Walk at Hillside Cemetery and are pictured with Gina Buda, a Genesee Community College student who portrayed Bentham.

The great-nieces all live in Rochester. Bentham lived in the city after growing up in Holley. She lived at 11 Kay Terrace. The great-nieces include, from left: Carol Foresta, Sherry Bentham and Laura Allis.

Buda of Bergen was among a group that helped put on the first Ghost Walk in the cemetery as part of a benefit for restoration of the chapel.

Brigden Memorials in Albion donated the stone with the engraving, and delivered it on Thursday, almost four decades after Bentham’s death.

She was 19 when she survived The Titanic, one of 710 to be rescued. The other 1,514 on the shp died, including her godfather William Douton of Holley.

The great-nieces said they are thankful for the new gravestone at Hillside Cemetery for Bentham.

Bentham would live to be 85, and remained in the Holley and Rochester region until her death on Dec. 15, 1977. She was married to John Black, who died at age 81 on June 28, 1977.

Bentham was buried in Hillside Cemetery next to her sister, Daisy Bentham, who died at age 16 in 1904. Lillian never had a headstone until Thursday.

“It’s awesome,” said Foresta.

“It’s totally unexpected,” Allis said.

Lillian and her husband didn’t have children. Orleans Hub reported on Thursday that she didn’t have surviving relatives. That was what the Clarendon Historical Society thought.

But the great-nieces are proof Lillian has surviving family, who still love her. Lillian lived with their father, Walter Bentham, near the end of her life. Her great-nieces said she didn’t want to talk about The Titanic.