As a young girl, Ms. Campe spend several years in an orphanage with her younger brother and sister when her other died and her father was unable to care for all of the children. She said that this experience developed her self-sufficiency and spirit of independence. An independence she noted, with twinkle in her eye, would sometimes get her into trouble. At the age of 12 she was apprenticed to a dressmaker and this was her occupation until she joined the Women’s Royal Air Force during World War II, serving in the ground crew of a bomber wing.
She immigrated to Canada in the early 1950s, living in Toronto, where she worked at various jobs including being a nanny. In 1955 she and three friends hired on to drive an automobile from Detroit to Los Angeles. She and her friend did some sightseeing in Southern California. They took the bus to the San Francisco Bay area where she decided to stay and once again worked initially as a nanny. She then became seriously ill but with no health insurance or income was deported back to England, where she stayed three years with her brother.
She returned to the US and returning to San Francisco she married but it ended in divorce with her starting over essentially with what she could carry in her suitcase. She became a US citizen on May 22, 1980. She loved her new country and was proud to be a citizen. She married John Henry Campe on December 11, 1993. They made their home in San Leandro, California he passed away July 2001, shortly after they moved to the Sacramento area, living in Carmichael.
Besides working as a nanny, Trude worked in sales and for social service agencies in San Francisco and East Bay communities. Trude frequently talked about individuals and agencies that had helped her at one time or another. She in turn herself helped others; her sense of community was reinforced by her work with their agencies and would lead to her ongoing support of church and community organizations.
Trude passed away April 25, 2010 in Roseville. With no immediate family she set up a living trust so that her estate could be distributed to organizations and agencies that helped other, locally, nationally and internationally. Ms. Campe was a very generous supporter of Heifer International during her lifetime, and the bequest she gave as part of her estate planning has been placed in the Gertrude Campe Memorial Endowment at Heifer Foundation. Every year, funds from this endowment will be made available to Heifer International for the support of their projects and work around the globe. In this way, her gift will continue to assist families and communities in need for generations to come.