Sanford S. “Sandy” Finder, for 51 years an attorney in Washington, Pa., died Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at his home in Anderson, S.C., of pancreatic cancer. He was 88.
He handled a variety of civil and criminal cases, though he earned a reputation and made it a point of pride in preventing numerous clients from facing the death penalty.
Born April 30, 1928, in New York City, Finder was raised “In the streets of Brooklyn with other bums,” as he joked. He was graduated in 1945 from Erasmus Hall High School, famous for producing U.S. senators, judges, an attorney general, plus celebrities such as singers Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond.
He was graduated cum laude in 1948 from Syracuse University, where he met and married Saranne “Sorky” Weiner in a campus ceremony Jan. 28, 1948. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in May 1951, he began an internship under the Washington legal practice of his father-in-law, David H. Weiner. Finder became the name partner of his own law practice for nearly a half-century, also serving as solicitor to the Washington County Controller, Canton Township and West Alexander. He was admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Juries weren’t the only groups in front of whom he was known to orate. He wrote musical reviews and performed in them for the annual Washington County Bar Association dinners; one he entitled “Fiddle with the Proof,” set to the music of “Fiddler on the Roof.” He also performed community service by selling Israel Bonds throughout the Tri-state area, for which he was honored in 1972 as the region’s Israel Bonds Man of the Year, an honor he shared with Sorky. He served as vice president of the Beth Israel Congregation, remained active in Washington County politics, and founded the Washington chapter of the University of Pittsburgh football booster club — he retained for decades Panthers season tickets inherited from his Pitt-graduate father-in-law. Later in life, he was co-founder/president of the homeowners associations of the Woodbridge Condominium Association in Mt. Lebanon and the Magnolias at South Ridge in Simpsonville, S.C.
Finder moved from Washington twice in his later years to be closer to family — to Mt. Lebanon in 1988, and upon his retirement to South Carolina in 2002. There he served as a contract arbitrator for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, taught at the Furman University lifelong learning center and occasionally led services at Temple B’Nai Israel in Anderson, S.C., where he celebrated a second bar mitzvah on the 70th anniversary of his first bar mitzvah in Brooklyn, N.Y. Returning to his Syracuse roots, he also traveled yearly to attend Syracuse football and basketball games on campus, in the NCAA basketball tournament or at Atlantic Coast Conference venues around the South.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years and two brothers, Marvin and Jack Finder. Surviving are: a brother, Mort, of New York, N.Y.; a brother-in-law, Myron (Ruth) Weiner, of Bloomfield, Conn.; a daughter, Dr. Andrea (David) Draisen of Anderson, S.C.; two sons, Alan (Patricia) Finder of Winchester, Mass., and Chuck (Cindi) Finder of Mt. Lebanon; six grandsons and two great-granddaughters.
Funeral arrangements were handled by the Warco-Falvo Funeral Home, 336 Wilson Ave., Washington, Pa., 15301. Interment was at the Beth Israel Synagogue Cemetery.
The family wishes to thank his wonderful caregivers in the final months: Rob Plott, Traci Kagey, Christine Zeno, Andrea Evans, Mike Kasha and Bill Greene.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Hospice of the Upstate, 1835 Rogers Road, Anderson, S.C., 29621 or Beth Israel Synagogue, 265 North Ave., Washington, PA, 15301.