Thelma Braun refused to let pancreatic cancer and a hip replacement stop her from sharing her message about Christ.
Rhonda Dragomir, an administrative assistant with the worldwide evangelism training ministry that Mrs. Braun founded with her husband in 1976, said in an October 2008 Herald-Leader story that the energetic woman's retirement plan was in heaven and that she would "work until the Lord takes her home."
"Well, on Thursday, she retired," Dragomir told a reporter on Friday.
Mrs. Braun, who would have turned 90 next month, died Thursday at her home in Wilmore, surrounded by friends and family.
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"We lost a great woman, and I'll never forget her," Dragomir said. "Just being around her changed my life forever."
Mrs. Braun was given four to six weeks to live when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about two years ago. She never received any treatment but continued traveling the world and working for the ministry, Evangelism Resources.
In February, Mrs. Braun returned to India with a full itinerary planned, including visiting five schools and two women's conferences, for 21 days. Mrs. Braun fell on a curb after she got off the plane after a 30-hour flight and broke her hip.
She endured a flight back to the United States for hip-replacement surgery.
In July, Mrs. Braun spoke during two banquets for Evangelism Resources, one in Wilmore and the other in Mansfield, Ohio.
"She worked right up to the end, even when she knew she was dying," said Stephen Liversedge, president of Evangelism Resources.
Mrs. Braun had recently finished a book about her life that is expected to be published before Christmas, Liversedge said.
Evangelism Resources has reached millions of people. Its 35 schools of evangelism have trained about 9,000 ministers, and a shorter eight-week program, called portable Bible schools, has reached 70,000 ministers.
Mrs. Braun received her minister's license at age 14, pastoring in her own church in Ohio while in high school. She had dedicated her life to God a few years earlier, after her mother was spared from goiter.
Mrs. Braun spent 30 years in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic) where she and her husband, Willys Braun, who died in 2003, trained ministers, started churches and educated the African people.
Visitation for Mrs. Braun will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home, 3421 Harrodsburg Road. A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at First Alliance Church, 2201 Higbee Mill Road.
Memorial gifts can be sent to Evangelism Resources, 425 Epworth Avenue, Wilmore, Ky. 40390.