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Sandler O'Neill & Partners
Chief Executive
Where Died
World Trade Center
Herman Sandler

Herman Sandler, a Mount Vernon native who co-founded the investment bank Sandler O'Neill, was working in the World Trade Center when it was first bombed in 1993.

"Other people started running, but he stayed and said 'They'll figure it out,' " said Martin Marks of White Plains, whose wife, Barbara, was Sandler's first cousin.

Sandler, a confident and passionate guy with a big laugh, sat tight again on 9/11. Sixty six of Sandler O'Neill's 171 employees died, Sandler among them.

"Other people got out," Marks said. "But he was this tall, imposing, successful guy and he stayed."

Sandler grew up in Mount Vernon and spent his summers as a lifeguard in Long Beach. He left Bear Stearns in 1988 to co-found Sandler O'Neill but was equally prominent as a philanthropist. He was a major supporter of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and of Itzhak Perlman's music program for talented youngsters in New York.

Sandler also became a vocal advocate of saving the rainforests. The musician Sting placed a death notice in the New York Times, saying that Sandler "championed my endeavors with huge interest, support and indefatigable energy. He was a joy to be with socially, a charismatic personality exuding a sense of fun and enthusiasm for life that shone from his boyish eyes."

Sandler, who is survived by his wife and three daughters, looked like Daddy Warbucks and could take over a room like him.

"He was a lot of fun to be with," Marks said.

- Gary Stern

Sandler grew up in Mount Vernon.
Barbara Marks of White Plains was his cousin.

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