The Back Page
In this issue Mary Swartley writes of Mennonite missionary
Annie Funk, who died in the Titanic disaster in 1912 (I
Wish Id Been There: Celebrating a lost life)
Coincidentally, Opryland Hotel, the site of Nashville 2001,
is currently hosting a traveling exhibit featuring artifacts
recovered in recent years from the Titanic.
I wondered, is there any evidence of Annies presence
on that ill-fated voyage? I had to find out.
As visitors entered the exhibit each of us was given a replica
of a boarding pass with the name of one passenger on each pass.
I wanted Annies pass, but was told I had to take the name
I was given. We were to carry the name with us through the exhibit.
In the final exhibit room the all the passengers were listed
on a wallthose who survived and those who didnt.
And there it was, on the wall of casualties of second class passengers:
Annie C. Funk.
The exhibit was well doneeven impressive. It told the
story of the building of the ship, its voyage, the disaster,
and the recovery of the artifacts. At the end of the tour, I
spoke with a cashier in the gift shop. When I told her the story
of Annie Funk, she asked would I like to have her boarding pass?
Of course, I would! She shuffled through a new pack of passes
in alphabetical order. There it was: Miss Annie C. Funk.
I read the replica reflectively, reverently. What were Annies
thoughts as she carried her boarding pass on board the great
floating palace of the seas, which was said to be
virtually indestructible? Surely the grandeur of the ship was
shadowed by thoughts of her mothers health. What were her
final thoughts? Her last words? And what impact would this event
have on her beloved students in India? On her family? On those
who hear the story nearly 90 years later?
Mennonite Historical Bulletin, July 2001