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Annie Clemmer Funk
Born 12 April 1874 (1874-04-12)
Bally, Pennsylvania
Died 15 April 1912 (1912-04-16) (aged 38)
Onboard - RMS Titanic
Nationality American
Occupation Missionary

Annie Clemmer Funk (12 April 1874–15 April 1912) was an American Christian missionary, who was one of the 1500 people who perished onboard RMS Titanic.[1] Since 1906, she was a missionary in the Janjgir-Champa district in Chhatisgarh, India.[2] She was on her way to visit her ailing mother when the tragic event happened.

Early lifeEdit

Annie Funk was born on 12 April 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.[3]

Missionary to IndiaEdit

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.”[4] 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.[2]

DeathEdit

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.

However, when she arrived, she learned that her ship would be delayed by a coal strike. So Thomas Cook & Sons offered to change her to a new ship, RMS Titanic, for "a few more gold pieces". Though it cost her more, Annie was assured that voyage on the Titanic would get her home in record time. She bought her second class ticket number 237671 for £13.

The Titanic steamed out of Southampton's dock at noon on April 10, 1912. This highly acclaimed, maiden voyage would break all transatlantic speed records. She enjoyed her 38th birthday on the first day on the ship. However, four days later at midnight, she was woken up by stewards. The ship stuck an iceberg despite several warnings. Dressed, she went back on the deck, where she was offered a seat in a life boat. She, however, stepped back and gave up her seat to a mother and a child, thus saving two lives. She died, along with 1500 others, sinking. Her body was never identified.[2] [3] [4]

LegacyEdit

Annie Funk Grave Stone

Annie Funk's memorial grave stone erected near Bally, Pennsylvania

In a final letter written somewhere “Near Suez”, she mentions her worry if the French would charge for excess baggage. She estimated it would take three more weeks to reach home, "if the weather and strikes do not prevent" it.

The act of giving up her seat to a mother and child is based on an unconfirmed report, but her acquaintances say, "That would be just like Annie.” [4]

A memorial erected at the Hereford Mennonite Church Cemetery, Pennsylvania carries the words:[3]

SHE WAS COMING HOME ON HER FIRST FUR- LOUGH, WHEN DEATH OVERTOOK HER IN THE WRECK OF THE STEAMSHIP TITANIC OFF THE COAST OF NEWFOUNDLAND.- HER LIFE WAS ONE OF SERVICE IN THE SPIRIT OF THE MASTER-"NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO BUT TO MINISTER."

A documentary titled ’Remembering Annie Funk’ is scheduled to be screened in her homestate, Pennsylvania, according to Mennonite Heritage Centre website.[2]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. "Titanic Second Class Passenger - FUNK, Miss Annie Clemmer". Titanic-Titanic.com. http://www.titanic-titanic.com/annie_clemmer_funk.shtml. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Chhatisgarh town’s ‘Titanic’ connection". The Hindu. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3310847.ece. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Miss Annie Clemmer Funk". encyclopedia titanica. http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/annie-clemmer-funk.html. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 [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. 

External linksEdit


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The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Titanic Database Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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