Ethel Flora Fortune was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on September 22, 1883. She was the first daughter and child of Mark and Mary Fortune. She had 3 younger siblings, Alice Elizabeth (b. May 10 1887), Mabel Helen (b. November 3 1888) and Charles Alexander (b. October 13 1892). She was engaged to Crawford Gordon I, a rising Toronto banker. Her parents invited her to join them on a Grand Tour of Europe. Ethel agreed to postpone her wedding so that she could shop for a trousseau in Europe and chaperone her younger siblings. She bought gowns from the leading fashion house, Worth, in Paris.
Ethel boarded RMS Titanic at Southampton as a first-class passenger together with her parents and siblings. They occupied staterooms C-23-25-27.
She thought getting into a lifeboat was a waste of time. She left her two sisters on the deck to return to her cabin. In her cabin, a steward informed her that her mother had gone on deck. The steward escorted her to lifeboat 10, just as it was being lowered. She jumped into the lifeboat. The people in the boat caught her. By the time Titanic went down, their lifeboat was a mile away from the site. The thought of Charles crying for someone to save him stayed with her for the rest of her life.
Ethel married Crawford Gordon I in 1913. Seven years later, they moved to Jamaica. They, again, moved to London and England when Crawford Gordon I was appointed manager of the Bank of Commerce in the United Kingdom. They had a son, Crawford Gordon II. Her son became the head of the Canadian aircraft manufacturing plant A.V. Roe. In the 1950s, her son was responsible for producing the prototype of the Avro Arrow aircraft.
Ethel died in Toronto on March 22, 1961. She is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto.