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Mary Vrba

Mary Vrba

...was soaking wet, got on a street car, and went home...

Mary Vrba was an employee of Western Electric who survived the Eastland Disaster.  A man from an office building along the Chicago River threw her a life preserver that she was able to grab ahold of and use to swim to the dock.  When asked about it later, her modest reply was, "I was soaking wet, I got on board a street car, and I went home."  She never spoke much about the Eastland during her life.

Mary's son Glenn Lippert was in the Navy during World War II, serving overseas in the waters off the island of Japan.  On a day while Glenn was continuing to fight for his country, Mary and her family went on a Lake Michigan cruise.  While in the middle of the lake, Mary's husband, Edward E. Lippert, suffered a cerebral hemorrage and died before they could get him to shore for medical assistance.

With her experience on the Eastland, her son in the Navy battling kamakazis, and her husband's death on Lake Michigan, Mary developed a fear of the water.

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