Annie Clemmer Funk was a Second Class passenger of the Titanic. She died in the sinking.
Since 1906, she was a Christian missionary in the Janjgir-Champa district in Chhatisgarh, India. She was on her way to visit her ailing mother when the ship sank.
Annie Funk was born on April 12th, 1874 in the small town of Bally, Pennsylvania. Her ancestors, who settled there in 1700s, were Mennonite emigrants from Germany. Miss Funk attended the State Normal School at West Chester.
Her home congregation, the Hereford General Conference Mennonite Church, where her father was a deacon for 25 years, nurtured her interest in missions from childhood. She attended the Mennonite Training School in Northfield, Massachusetts. After graduation, she worked with the immigrants in the slums of Chattanooga, Tennessee and Paterson, New Jersey. She dreamt of being a missionary.
Missionary to India
After the stateside assignments, she volunteered to go overseas. She had unqualified trust in God. Once she stated to a friend who feared for her safety on the first transatlantic voyage that, "Our heavenly Father is as near to us on sea as on land. My trust is in Him. I have no fear.” Thus, her dream of being a missionary was realized in December 1906, when she was sent to India as the first female Mennonite missionary.
Annie arrived in India and served in Janjgir-Champa district, in Chhatisgarh. In 1908, she opened a one-room school and hostel for poor girls. The school initially taught 17 students. She also learnt Hindi during her stay. The school was later renamed the Annie C Funk Memorial School. Only the outer walls survive today, with a small plaque which describes her brief but extraordinary life and her tragic death.
Miss Funk's work was interrupted by a telegram which read, "Come home at once. Mother very ill. Have purchased on two ships, Pater Shelly." Though she was not told that her mother was close to death, Annie made her travel plans quickly.
From Janjgir-Champa, she reached Mumbai via rail and boarded a ship, the Persian. She disembarked at Marseille and reached Liverpool, England via train and boat, where the SS Haverford would finally carry her home to America.
She left Janjgir by train to Bombay, boarded the Persian and disembarked at Marseille. The train and boat brought her to England and finally to Liverpool, where the Haverford carried her home to America. Because of the coal-strike the ship was laid off, so Thos. Cook & Sons offered her to change to the Titanic for "a few more gold pieces", as she wrote. She bought her second class ticket 237671 for £13.
Miss Funk boarded the Titanic at Southampton. She enjoyed the first days by celebrating her 38th birthday. In the night of the sinking, she was asleep in her cabin, was woken by the stewards, dressed and went on deck. She was about to enter a lifeboat, when a woman came from behind, pushing her aside by calling: "My children, My children". The last seat was gone, Annie had to step back. She died in the sinking. Her body, if recovered, was never identified.
- "Chhatisgarh town’s ‘Titanic’ connection". The Hindu. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3310847.ece. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- "Miss Annie Clemmer Funk". encyclopedia titanica. http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/annie-clemmer-funk.html. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
- [www.mcusa-archives.org/Features/annie.html "When you see Titanic . . .remember Annie Funk"]. Mennonite Church USA. www.mcusa-archives.org/Features/annie.html. Retrieved 17 April 2012.