She graduated from Wellesley College in 1952, earning Phi Beta Kappa distinction, and received a master’s of business administration degree from New York University in 1958. She became a rarity of the time: a high-ranking woman on Wall Street, working as a banking analyst at Dominick & Dominick and then at Oppenheimer & Company, following savings and loan associations.
She met Herb Sandler, then a Manhattan lawyer, on a beach in the Hamptons in 1960. They married the next year, and moved to California to try running their own lending operation.
Selling Golden West to Wachovia for more than $25 billion was meant to be the crowning business achievement for the Sandlers, who reaped about $2.4 billion from the transaction. They poured much of their proceeds into the Sandler Foundation, which became one the biggest benefactors to nonprofits in the country.
Wachovia was sold to Wells Fargo for $15.1 billion, 40 percent less than it had paid for Golden West alone.
Besides her husband, Mrs. Sandler is survived by her brothers, Bernard and Harold Osher; her daughter, Susan; her son, James; and two grandchildren.