Mrs Pekka Pietari Hakkarainen (Elin Matilda Dolk 1) was born in Helsinki, Finland on 20 March 1888.
She was the daughter of Carl Dolk and Eva Vilhelmina Andersson and had two known siblings: Charles (1886-1964) and John Edward (b. 1891) .
Elin had first emigrated to the USA in 1907, arriving in New York aboard the Hellig Olav on 26 June that year. She worked as a maid in Quincy, Massachusetts and appears there on the 1910 census. She was engaged to another Finnish-American, Pekka Peitari Hakkarainen (b. 1884) a steelworker from Monessen, Pennsylvania, and they were wed in their native Finland on 15 January 1912. The stay in Finland was to be brief as a prolonged stay may have meant Pekka being conscripted into the Russian Army.
Initially planning to return to the USA aboard Mauretania, they changed their mind and boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers (ticket number 3101279 which cost £15, 17s).
On the night of the sinking Elin and Pekka were in their cabin sleeping but were woken by the collision which Elin described as a strong vibration and a scratching noise. Pekka got up to investigate while Elin returned to bed, soon falling asleep again. When she awoke again sometime later Pekka had still not returned and some onboard acquaintances arrived at the cabin to rouse her. She did not have time to dress properly and grabbed a handbag and life preserver and hurried into the corridor. All the stairway gates appeared to be locked, but, at last, she noticed a steward coming to collect a group of steerage passengers, guiding them to the boat deck.
Elin looked for her husband on deck but an officer came up and told her that there was space for one more woman in a nearby boat (15). The boat was already on its way down and she almost fell between the boat between lifeboat and the ship side, before someone grabbed her in her hand and pulled her into the boat.
Elin never saw Pekka again and his body was never found. She continued to New York aboard Carpathia and later received £50 in compensation.
For a time Elin lived in West Virginia and was remarried there on 10 April 1917 to Emil Nummi (b. 5 September 1891), also a native of Finland. The couple's only child, a son named Gerald Emil, was born on 20 October 1920. The family moved to Warren, Ohio in 1926 and Elin spent the rest of her life in that city, living at 729 Parkman, Warren where she was a member of St Mark's Lutheran Church.
During the 1950s Elin saw the Fox movie Titanic, assisted Walter Lord in his research for A Night to Remember and also saw the TV adaptation of that book twice. Elin died following a stroke on 2 January 1957 aged 68. It was reported that the evening before her death she had spent most of her time knitting and reading A Night to Remember. She was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Warren. Her widower Emil passed away on 7 November 1965
Her son Gerald later worked as a music teacher and was married in 1947 to Jane Irene Stimmel (b. 1927) and had three children. He later penned a book about his mother's experiences on Titanic, I'm Going to See What Has Happened. He died in Lake, Ohio on 20 March 1995.
Claes-Göran Wetterholm, Sweden
Juho Peltonen, Finland
Leif Snellman, Finland
- Sometimes spelled Dolck
Boarding pass replica, Franklin Institute Science Museum, produced by RMS. Titanic, inc.
Warren Tribune Chronicle, 3 January 1957, obituary
Articles and Stories
The Charleroi Mail (1912)
Lima News (1953)