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 in 1898-99 the Northfield Training School in Northfield, Mass, a girls school founded by the 19th Century Evangelist, Dwight L Moody. Miss Funk then worked under the Methodist Church among the African-American community in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for several years, before taking a staff position with the YWCA in Patterson, New Jersey, working with young women and the growing immigrant community. She had dreamed of being a missionary since her youth and as early as 1903 had indicated to the Mennonite Mission Board her availability. This was finally realized in November 1906 when she was sent to India as the first single female Mennonite missionary to be sent overseas.
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. In March 1912, a telegram encouraging her to depart immediately and return to Bally for an early furlough: "Come home at once. Mother very ill. Have purchased on two ships, Pastor 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 Miss Funk, the school she had founded in Janjgir, India was named the "Annie C. Funk Memorial Girl's School." Sufficient memorial gifts were given by friends in America to enlarge the school and add a two story dormitory for boarding students.
A memorial is erected at the Hereford Mennonite Church Cemetery in Pennsylvania. It's inscription reads:
SHE WAS COMING HOME ON HER FIRST FUR-