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Beverly BRADBURN-STERN

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Beverly BRADBURN-STERN Obituary
BRADBURN-STERN, Beverly Beverly Bradburn-Stern, a nationally recognized authority on family counseling and divorce who devoted her life and career to the welfare of children, passed away Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at her home in Atlanta, Georgia, surrounded by friends and family. She was 72. A self-described "nomad" in her youth, Bev, daughter of decorated Air Force pilot Colonel Gordon F. Bradburn and Romayne Bradburn (nee McLaughlin), along with siblings Barbara and Bruce, never stayed in any one place for more than a few years of her childhood. Home for Bev ranged from Taipei, Taiwan (where her father served as air attache), to pre-statehood Alaska, to North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Washington, DC, California, Alabama, and Tennessee. As the middle child and perpetual "new kid," she learned the art of mediation at an early age. She went on to pursue a Master's in education and counseling at the University of Florida. After moving to Atlanta in 1969, Bev was named head counselor at the Galloway School, and then began work at the child advocacy organization Families First as director of education and training services. During her 23 years at Families First, she pioneered an innovative family counseling approach to recognize and tackle the adverse effects of divorce on children. She developed the "Children Cope with Divorce" seminar for divorcing parents, which was featured by news outlets across the country, including The New York Times, CNN, The Today Show, and 20/20, and which became legally mandated for divorcing parents in Cobb County, Georgia. Bev traveled nationally to train educators, and the program quickly spread to other jurisdictions; it was eventually adopted in 39 states, reaching well over one million parents nationwide. She later served for a decade as the executive director of DeKalb County Superior Court's Dispute Resolution Center, using mediation to help clashing parents find common ground and do what was best for their kids. She opened her private counseling and mediation practice in 2008. Bev led a remarkable life of peripatetic travels, adventures, and deep, personal friendships. She constantly engaged her passions for theater, film, books, political activism, and social justice. Every child who came into Bev's orbit soon found both a tireless advocate and a kindred spirit. Her irreverent, mischievous, infectious sense of fun lives on in her daughter, step-children, grandkids, nieces, nephews, and friends, as well as among the countless children whose lives she touched. She taught by example that it's always best to confront a bully, and never back down-a lesson she learned in childhood and carried with her into adulthood. Bev was a fighter by nature and was fiercely committed to protecting the vulnerable throughout her life. In the early 90s, she was given a special commendation for bravery by the Mayor of Atlanta after rescuing a rape victim from her assailant on the street. Her courageous act was featured on CNN. News anchors described this as an extraordinary action by an ordinary woman, but those who know Bev recognized the opposite: an ordinary action by a woman who was in every way extraordinary. It was this combination of kindness and determined courage in the face of injustice that defined who she was. In the 1970s, Bev became an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta. While teaching a continuing education seminar at the UUCA, she met Edwin H. Stern. They married in 1980 and had one daughter, Megan. After Edwin passed away in 1996, Bev would not remarry, saying Edwin was and always will be the love of her life. She will be buried with him in Crest Lawn Memorial Park. Since childhood, Bev was drawn to Jewish traditions and beliefs and felt a kinship with the Jewish people. She converted to Judaism in 1983 and became a heavily involved member of Atlanta's The Temple, teaching religious school there for many years, and passing on to her students her fierce enthusiasm for the Jewish values of tolerance, dialogue, social justice, and care for the ill and elderly. Bev is survived by her beloved daughter, Megan Romayne Stern; sister, Barbara Bradburn (Mike Wood); brother, Bruce Bradburn (Fran); step-son, Richard Stern (Mindy Brown), step-daughter, Dana Meline (David); grandchildren: Ezra, Alex, Jared, and Rebecca; nieces: Kristen Oliver (Chuck), Sage Bradburn, and Erin Falls (Andy); nephew, Ryan Bradburn (Emily); great-nephews: Adrian, Riley, Graham, and Tate; great-nieces, Allie and Margot; sisters-in-law: Margie Kaplan, Nancy Chambers (Alan Smith), and JoAnn Singband (Larry); and their children: Hannah, Julia, Ruth, Naomi, David, Judy, and Lynn. Funeral services will be held 3:00 PM Sunday, September 24, 2017 at The Temple, 1589 Peachtree Street NE, with Rabbi Peter Berg officiating. Graveside services will follow at Crest Lawn Memorial Park. Sign online guestbook at www.edressler.com. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bev's memory be made to her favorite organizations: Southern Poverty Law Center, www.splcenter.org; National Public Radio, www.npr.org; and the American Jewish World Service, www.ajws.org. Arrangements by Dressler's Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Sept. 22 to Sept. 23, 2017
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