When Annie Clemmer Funk, a Mennonite missionary to India, learned her mother was very ill in Pennsylvania, she quickly packed her bags and caught a train to Mumbai (then Bombay). From there she traveled to England, where she learned a coal strike had delayed her ship’s voyage to the United States.
So she paid a few extra gold pieces for a spot on the Titanic, which set sail two days later.
Funk was one of 1,517 people who died in the “unsinkable” ocean liner’s disaster on April 15, 1912. Just three days earlier, she had celebrated her 38th birthday aboard the Titanic.
A native of Butter Valley in southeastern Pennsylvania, Funk was the first Mennonite woman from Pennsylvania to serve as a missionary in India. After Mennonite missionaries in India put out an urgent call for an unmarried woman, Funk expressed interest and went to Janjgir in 1906, at the age of 32. She served under the General Conference Mennonite Church’s young board of missions. In 1908 Funk started a one-room school for girls, later named Funk Memorial Girls School. After her death, several memorial services were held in Pennsylvania and India.
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