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Death of Dr. Richard C. Braun former missionary to Ghana

December 21, 2012

1930 – 2012

Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of former missionary Dr. Richard C. Braun on Sunday, December 2, 2012.  He had suffered an aortic dissection on Thanksgiving Day and been taken from his home in Pleasant Hill, Tennessee, to Cumberland Medical Center, where he was treated for a week before being moved to Wharton Home in Pleasant Hill, where he died two days later. He was 82. He died the way he had lived:  with grace, in love and in peace.

Richard Charles (Dick) Braun was born inSt. Louis,Missouri, in 1930, to T.C. and Viola Braun. He received a Bachelor of Science degree fromGrinnellCollegeinIowaand a Doctor of Medicine Degree from the Washington University School of Medicine inSt. Louis. AtGrinnellCollegehe met Gertrude (Trudy) Camp, and atWashingtonUniversitythey strengthened their friendship while she earned her nursing degree.  They married in 1953. 

Two years later their first child, Kenneth, was born inIndianapolis, where Dick was completing his medical internship.  The following year Dick and Trudy were commissioned as medical missionaries by the United Church Board for World Ministries; and, in 1957 after six months of training at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine inLondon,England, they and their young son arrived in the newly independent African nation ofGhana.

InGhana, Dick and Trudy served together at hospitals under the auspices of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church,Ghanain Worawora and Adidome.  AtAdidomeHospital, Trudy headed the nursing staff and Dick was the medical director andsometimes the only doctor in a rural area with a population of about 50,000.  In addition to caring for patients at the hospitals and rural outreach clinics, they trained Ghanaian nurses and medical students, ensuring that their work would continue after they leftAfrica.  Dick was a founder of the ecumenical Church Hospital Association of Ghana and, for a time, the chair of its board of directors.  

The Brauns’ second son, Nathan Kwame, was born in 1957, followed by Alan in 1959, both in Worawora.  Daughter Lois was born in 1962 in Adidome.  The family furloughed inWebster Groves,MO(residing on the campus of Eden Seminary), in 1960, and inOak ParkIllinois, in 1964 and 1967.  Both Dick and Trudy engaged in deputation work for the UCBWM during these periods in theU.S.

Dick’s parents followed him toGhanain 1963.  The Reverend T.C. Braun, A United Church of Christ minister, taught theology and Viola Braun taught English at the Evangelical Presbyterian Seminary in Peki Blengo for three years.  The elder Brauns retired inUCC-affiliatedUplandsVillageinPleasant HillTennessee, and in 1971 Dick and Trudy and their children took a furlough in nearby Crissville.  Dick jointed the Cumberland Clinic Foundation (CCF) and Trudy worked with the Tennessee Department of Health as a visiting nurse in the Upper Cumberland Region.  

After two years inTennessee, the Brauns returned toGhanafor one last extended term there.  It was a time of drought and food shortages inGhana, but also a time in which the goal of an entirely Ghanaian staff atAdidomeHospitalwas achieved.  Having served the sick and health people ofGhanafor 21 years, Dick and Trudy left that country in 1978 and moved back toTennesseepermanently.  

Dick resumed his work with the Cumberland Clinic Foundation, and Trudy hers with the Tennessee Department of Health. When the foundation closed in 1990, he began private family practice.  Upon his retirement from private practice in 1993, he and Trudy moved to Uplands Villege, but Dick remained on the staff of the Cumberland Medical Center in Crossville and also accepted the position of Medical Director at Uplands Wharton Home, continuing in that capacity until 2011.  He also volunteered his time and medical skill to people in under-served places, including Native American reservations inNorth DakotaandArizona, the hurricane-wrecked coast ofHonduras, and a remote town in the Himalayas of Nepal. 

A lifelong advocate of health care as a human right, Dick Braun served on the board of the Tennessee Health Care Campaign from 1994 to 1999 and was president of the board in 1998 and 1999.  He was also a member of Physicians for a National Health Program, the Universal Health Care Action Network, and was a Life Member of theAmericanAcademyof Family Physicians.  He wrote frequently about health care issues in the Crossville Chronicle column, “The Lion and the Lamb.”  He received many awards and honors but was most proud when he met or heard news of any of the thousands of people he had delivered into the world.

Dick was an ardent amateur musician who played flute and sang bass in various groups, including the Pleasant Hill Ensemble, the Cookeville Mastersingers, and the Cumberland County Community Chorus.  He was an active member of thePleasant HillCommunityChurchand ofUplandsVillage.  He loved walking in the hills, meadows, and woods ofTennesseeand swimming in its creeks and lakes.

Richard C. Braun is survived by his brother, Theodore A. Braun; his wife; his four children and their spouses; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  

Messages of condolence may be sent to Ken (Bosondo), kenbraun55@gmail.com; Kwame (Catherine) kwamebraun@gmail.com; Alan (Jenner) mandelbraun@speakeasy.net; and Lois (Les) brau0259@umn.edu  

His family suggests that those who wish to honor his life might make donations to Global Ministries (www.globalministries.org), 700 Prospect Avenue East, Cleveland, OH 44115-1100, or Uplands Village (www.uplandsvillage.com).

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