Merle Harlan Sandler, a former longtime Marina del Rey resident who most recently lived in Portland, Ore., has died. He was 83.
Sandler passed away June 12 of multiple organ failure while visiting family in Boise, ID, his family said.
Sandler was born to Mose and Eva Sandler on April 4, 1928, in Des Moines, IA. He moved with his parents and older sister, Donna, to Los Angeles when he was two and grew up in the Los Angeles area.
He was a graduate of Beverly Hills High School (class of 1946), USC (class of 1950), and Loyola Law School (class of 1952). Sandler joined the U.S. Army reserve, but was discharged shortly thereafter due to his flat feet.
He married Alda Roth in 1952 in Los Angeles, and together they raised three children, Mitchell, Gary, and Lorian. The couple divorced in 1974. In 1999, Sandler met and later married Susie Youn, with whom he shared 12 happy years. They lived in Portland and Hawaii.
Sandler had worked as an attorney and primarily spent his career practicing corporate law, both as a member of a group law practice and as a sole practitioner. Still, he dreamed of pursuing a career in radio, his family said.
Sandler started in radio at Beverly where he and other students put on a show each week on KFAC, a commercial classical station in Los Angeles. While at USC, he hosted a classical music program on the university station, KUSC. After he retired he returned to radio, hosting “Classic Castaways” in Arcata. For a program based on the BBC’s “Desert Island Discs,” he interviewed guests about which music they would take with them if they were stranded on a desert island and why.
Over the years, Sandler spent much of his free time on the water, where he loved to sail. As a resident of Marina del Rey, he was an avid sailor with the Wind ‘n’ Sea Sailing Club. He enjoyed traveling and took many trips to both domestic and exotic ports. The Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Greece, and Catalina Island were some of his favorite destinations, and he visited each more than once.
He also loved to play tennis and to dance, and was actively participating in a regular dance group until shortly before his death. He and his wife, Susie, also enjoyed entertaining their friends. Sandler knew his way around the kitchen and passed down favorite recipes to his children.
Sandler is survived by his loving wife Susie of Portland, Ore.; and his children: Mitchell Sandler and his wife Anne Hodgkinson of Utrecht, Holland, Gary Sandler and his wife Karen of Cameron Park, and Lorian Gans and her husband Billy of Boise, ID. He is also survived by his grandchildren Eric Sandler of Osaka, Japan; Ryan Sandler and his wife Dani of Davis; David Gans of Boise, ID; and Aerin Truskey and Barry Gans, both of Boise, ID, as well as his great-granddaughter, Miriam, of Davis.
In honor of Sandler’s love of dance, the family requests that in lieu of flowers, those who wish to contribute in his memory make donations to organizations that provide dance education for children.