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Obituaries » Fern Volkman Bratten

Fern Volkman Bratten, 71, of Warrenton, a fashion guru and feline rescuer, died June 13, 2020.

As a leading sales motivator, Fern Bratten had a devoted following of corporations, retailers and customers. She had a background in theater, stand-up comedy and 25 years in sales, possessing a rare combination of industry knowledge and the ability to connect with audiences. 

For the past two years Fern and her surviving husband Bruce were residents of the Fauquier Health Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Warrenton. The cause of death was heart disease. 

Fern spent 14 years with Koret, a major manufacturer of women’s clothing, producing narrated fast-paced, humorous fashion shows. Sponsoring retailers were astounded by the enthusiasm of her followers and the success she had spiking the number of sales after each show. 

After leaving Koret, for the next three years she was a retail buyer. Her own line of Fern Bratten apparel was distributed nationwide by Wal-Mart and QVC. She became a leading retail sales motivator and keynote speaker. Her clients included Federated, Saks, Dillard’s, Nordstrom and Belk. It was said that Fern could sell anything to anyone. 

She longed to spend more time at home with her husband Bruce, also fulfilling her passion for animal rescue. Over the years they rescued and loved hundreds of needy cats. 

Before retiring she worked in public relations for Yves Delorme Luxury Linens in Charlottesville, later managing the Salamander Gift Shop in Middleburg. With her usual flair she developed a following of shoppers to whom she offered a cup of tea as they entered. 

Fern Linda Volkman was born in Hempstead, New York on May 13, 1949, attending Hempstead High School, Boston University, and Golden Gate University. She was the oldest child of Irene and David Volkman, caring for them in their final years after their move to Warrenton. Fern and her parents were members of the Fauquier Jewish Congregation. 

She is survived by her loving husband, Bruce, whom she married on Valentine’s Day 1982; sister Karen Androphy (husband Gary); brother Arthur Volkman (wife Shelly); nephew Jeremy Volkman; niece Justine Volkman (fiancé Nick Senta); Darlene Hughes (dear friend); Florence Pellegrino Giardino (dear friend). 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Fauquier SPCA, P.O. Box 733, Warrenton, Va. 20188.

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