Marion Sandler Dies at 81-years Old

Marion Sandler Dies at 81-years Old
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Marion Sandler died at age 81 in her San Francisco home on June 1, 2012.

Marion Sandler was a business executive who ran Golden West Financial Corp. with her husband for 43 years before they sold the mortgage lender in 2006 to Wachovia Corp. for $24 billion.

Sandler and her husband, Herb bought Golden West in 1963 and helped it grow from a two-branch savings-and-loan business with only 26 employees to a publicly-traded company with 11,000 employees and 285 branches.

Marion Sandler told The Chronicle in 2006 about her husband-and-wife CEO team, “We’ve almost never not worked together. We are extraordinarily compatible. I just can’t describe it.”

The sale of Golden West gave both Sandlers more time on their passion of philanthropy. They were committed to giving their wealth to philanthropically and contributed more than $1.3 billion to the Sandler Foundation. That included founding the first online news source called, ProPublica. ProPublica is a nonprofit that specializes in investigative reporting, which went on to win a Pulitzer Prize.

The editors of ProPublica said on the website that Marion Sandler played key roles from interviewing staffers to selecting its name and logo. “She participated in every ProPublica Board meeting until the most recent one; only her last illness could keep her away. Usually in such sessions, she was knitting except when speaking; always, she was listening carefully, and her points were as tightly focused as her stitches, wrote. “It is our great good fortune — and yours as readers, we think — that she cared about this one. We mourn her loss.”

The American Civil Liberties Union put out a statement saying the Board of Directors and staff at ACLU are deeply saddened by the death of Marion Sandler. ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said in the statement, “Marion understood the struggle for justice from firsthand experience. She blasted through every gender barrier in the investment and banking world at a time when women were still being asked to fetch their male co-workers their morning coffee. Along with her devoted husband, Herb, she reached the pinnacle of the banking industry. But she never lost her sense of humanity, justice and fairness that infused her business and philanthropy. Her acumen, commitment and friendship meant an enormous amount to me personally. America lost a great woman, leader, humanist and philanthropist. But America is a more perfect union because Marion Osher Sandler graced our earth with her presence, power and love for improving the human condition.”

Marion Sandler is survived by her husband, daughter Susan Sandler, son James Sandler, brothers Bernard and Harold Osher, and two grandchildren.

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About Drew Wilson

Drew focuses on the Commercial and Mortgage/Finance categories.

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