Sanford Michael Isaacs of Jaffrey, New Hampshire, died on January 24, 2019, after a mercifully short if steep decline from a series of strokes. Sandy died in his home six days after entering hospice and with loving support from his four children, his friend of the last seven months, Mimi Bull, and with visits from loved ones, including on the last day, his sister Dianne Weil. Sandy’s last days were full of gratitude for a loving family, charming engagement with caregivers, and a simple, quiet letting go of the rich life he deeply enjoyed. Passing just three years after his beloved wife of 57 years, Sandy will be buried at home next to Nancy, facing Mt. Monadnock.
Born March 18, 1930, son of Irving Isaacs and Frances Gerber, Sandy was a Bostonian in fact and in manner. His father was a real estate developer who worked at times in the entertainment business, owning the former Telepix Theater on St. James Street in Boston, and the Narragansett Hotel in Providence. Frances and her family emigrated from Russia to Portland, leading to a family home in West Baldwin, Maine that Sandy enjoyed visiting his whole life: fishing a little, puttering a lot. A graduate of Boston Latin, Chauncy Hall, and MIT, Sandy fashioned a professional life that drew on his facility with systems, early computers, and developing technologies that made things work better and more efficiently -- Information Technology before the term was coined. These capacities led him to work, sequentially, for the Air Force in the area of human resources; as manager of the Narragansett Hotel; IBM in the 60s; State Street Bank in Boston for close to twenty years before a brief stint at Interbank in New York; and, in the last ten years, to non-profits: Oxfam and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Sandy’s life outside of family and career was guided by his commitment and interest in peace and social justice as approached by the Religious Society of Friends. With his wife Nancy, Sandy found fellowship, meaning and a way to live out his principles through Quakerism, first joining the Cambridge Friends Meeting in the late 1960s, then the Wellesley Friends Meeting through the mid-90s, and in the last twenty years, the Monadnock Quaker Meeting. Primarily through the Quakers but also with other groups, Sandy has been an activist or supporter of peace and anti-war movements, prison reform, and end-of-life rights, among other progressive causes. He offered draft counseling during the Vietnam War, supported prisoners’ Quaker meetings, worked with a Quaker middle-east peace group, advocated for NH Death with Dignity legislation, was active with Jaffrey Democrats, and could be relied on to attend rallies with singular Plexiglas protest signs that were ever-ready for topic change. A nonconformist by nature, Sandy was known for his many unusual characteristics: bowties worn daily through retirement, extensive labeling (e.g., “AVOID RUNNING WATER FOR HOURS”), brilliant systems for home management, and the Gerber family duck walk.
Sandy will be remembered for his buoyant personality, his warm and loving nature, his capacity for deep and animated conversation, and his practiced belief in forgiveness. Sandy will be deeply missed by his family and friends, but also by the many people who have known and enjoyed his sparkling personality and respectful treatment of all people and dogs.
Sandy leaves his sister Dianne Weil, his four children and their spouses (Julia Bixler Isaacs and her husband, Charles Schobert; Daniel Bixler Isaacs and his wife, Sarah; Beata Isaacs Randall and her husband, John; and, Emily James Isaacs, and her husband Paul Modiano), eight grandchildren (Nicole Hicks; Matthew and Kira Isaacs; Daniel and Katrina Randall; and Jamie, Josh and Toby Modiano), two great-grandchildren (Kayden and Kalani Osilesi), and his standard poodle Jamie, the last in a long line of dogs that Sandy cherished right until the end.