Miss Annie Clemmer Funk
Miss Annie Clemmer Funk, 38, was born on 12 April 1874 in Bally, Pennsylvania. Her ancestors were Mennonite emigrants from Germany, who settled there in the late 1700s. Her father was deacon at the local Mennonite church for 25 years.
Miss Funk attended the State Normal School at West Chester, Pa. and the Mennonite Training School in Northfield, Mass. After her graduation she worked with the immigrants in the slums of Chattanooga, Tenn. and Paterson, N.J. She dreamt of being a missionary. This was realized in December 1906, when she was sent to India as the first female Mennonite missionary.
It was Janjgir, where she should live and work for the next years. In July 1907 she opened a one-room school for girls, where she initially taught 17 girls. She got closer to the people by learning Hindi. A telegram forced her in the end to return to Bally: "Come home at once. Mother very ill. Have purchased on two ships", Pater Shelly.
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 number 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.
In memory of her, her school in India is now called "Annie Funk Memorial School". A memorial is erected at the Hereford Mennonite Church Cemetery in Pennsylvania. It's inscription reads:
References and Sources
Philip Hind (Editor)
Pat Cook, USA
Hermann Söldner, Germany
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Name: Miss Annie Clemmer Funk
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