Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Gertrude C. Braun

Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Gertrude C. Braun

Gertrude C. Braun
April 22, 1930 – July 21, 2014

Gertrude C. Braun, a public-health nurse who served in Ghana for 21 years with her husband, the late Dr. Richard C. Braun, died in Pleasant Hill, Tennessee, on July 21st, at the age of 84. 

The youngest child of Charles Camp and Elizabeth Morse Camp, she was born Gertrude Harriet Camp on April 22, 1930, in Weiser, Idaho.  In her youth she and her family lived in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Illinois.  Her mother was, for many years, a member of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) of the Congregational Church.  Mrs. Camp sometimes took her daughter with her to board meetings and often hosted itinerating missionaries in the family home, and in this way inspired the little girl s determination to live and work overseas when she grew up.  

Trudy Camp attended Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.  There she met Dick Braun; they both played flute in the college orchestra, were both active in a campus church fellowship, and both intended to become medical missionaries.  After further undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago, Trudy entered the Washington University School of Nursing in St. Louis.   Dick Braun was already enrolled in the Washington University Medical School, and he and Trudy married in 1953.  

A year later, Mrs. Braun earned her BS and RN.  She worked with the Visiting Nurses Association of St. Louis while her husband completed his MD, and then the couple moved to Indianapolis, where Dr. Braun did his hospital internship and assisted his wife in delivering their first child, Kenneth.  

Commissioned by the United Church Board for World Ministries, a successor of the ABCFM and predecessor of Global Ministries, they went to newly-independent Ghana in 1957.  For five years they alternated between hospitals in Worawora, where Mrs. Braun taught at the nursing school, and Adidome, where she was the Nursing Superintendent.  Sons Nathan (better known as Kwame) and Alan were born in Worawora, and daughter Lois in Adidome.  

The family remained based in Adidome for the next 16 years.  During that time Trudy initiated an outreach program to promote prenatal care and early childhood health.  She established clinics in 30 villages in the region around Adidome, some so remote that they could be reached only by boat or motorcycle.  This program succeeded in lowering the infant mortality rate and curbing malnutrition and serious childhood diseases in the region.

Dick and Trudy Braun completed their work in Ghana 1978.  They settled in Crossville, Tennessee, where they had previously spent a two-year furlough.  Dick returned to the Cumberland Clinic Foundation and Trudy resumed her work as a home-visiting nurse with the Cumberland County Health Department.  In 1983 the Tennessee Department of Health, alarmed by high teenage pregnancy rates in the state, asked Trudy Braun to develop a sex-education curriculum for public schools in the 16 counties of the Upper Cumberland Region.  She and her colleagues faced many misgivings and stiff resistance from school administrators, parents and clergymen, but by emphasizing self-esteem, respect for others, and the realities of unintended consequences, along with lessons in human physiology, Mrs. Braun turned opponents into supporters.  During the ten years that she headed the program, incidents of teenage pregnancy in the region declined significantly.  

Mrs. Braun retired in 1993 and, with her husband, moved from Crossville to Uplands Village in Pleasant Hill, Tennessee.  She and Dick served six months as Global Ministries volunteers at the United Mission to Nepal (1994-1995) where she served as a nurse at the Tansen Hospital.  

In Pleasant Hill, Trudy kept busy as a faithful volunteer in the local community and beyond.  She was active in many aspects of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Southeast Conference Commission on Women in Church and Society, and involved in planning many UCC women’s gatherings.  Over the years she was honored with local, state and national awards for community service, advocacy for women and children, and contributions to public health and quality of life.   

Trudy Braun was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2003 but continued to lead an active life as long as she could.  After suffering a broken shoulder and increasing disabilities at the end of 2011, she moved into Wharton Home in Pleasant Hill.  Less than a year later, Dick Braun, her husband of almost 60 years, died.  Trudy lived another year and a half in the excellent care of the Wharton Home staff.  She is survived by her four children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.  

Condolences may be sent to Ken Braun, or 110 High St., Nutley, NJ 07110.  Both Trudy and before her, Richard, requested that gifts made in their memories go to Global Ministries, 700 Prospect, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.