Sanford ‘Sandy’ Berkman

Sandy Berkman

SLINGERLANDS — Sanford “Sandy” Berkman was a “kind and compassionate man, and left a lasting impression on everyone he met,” his family said.

He died Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, at the Albany Stratton Veterans Administration Medical Center surrounded by his loving family.

Mr. Berkman was born on Oct. 6, 1920, in Cohoes, he was the only child of the late Efrank and Frances Berkman.

Mr. Berkman’s father worked in sales at Army-Navy stores throughout the Capital Region. “He did sales, hemmed pants, and did anything they needed,” said Mr. Berkman’s wife, Lorraine Berkman.

Mr. Berkman loved his parents deeply, Mrs. Berkman said, and was devastated when his father died when Mr. Berkman was just 7 years old.

After his father’s death, Mr. Berkman moved to New Hampshire with his mother when she found a job in sales there.

At Dover High School, Mr. Berkman loved to play basketball and attend weekly dances. It was at Dover that he was given the acerbic nickname, Kipper. “He was the only Jewish person in the entire school — it was a different time,” Mrs. Berkman said with a laugh.

After graduating from high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps and was sent to the island of Iwo Jima, surviving of the fierce battle that took place there. He also witnessed the raising of the iconic two flags after victory.

Mrs. Berkman said that her husband did not talk about the war until 19 years into their marriage. “He lost half the men in his battalion,” she said.

After coming home, Mr. Berkman settled in Waterford, New York, where he opened up a bar on Route 32, named “Sandy’s,” his appropriate nickname. The bar burned down after five years and Mr. Berkman moved on. He went to work at a local country club.

It was during this time that Mr. Berkman married for the first time; from that marriage were born his daughter, Stacy, and his son, Darren.

After his first marriage ended, Mr. Berkman was working at the Colonie Country Club when he  met Lorraine, known as Dolly, who later became his wife.  She had come in to be a temporary waitress. Mr. Berkman called her back for more work but she said, no thank you. “I did not want to work for him,” Mrs. Berkman quipped.

It wasn’t until some years later that they reconnected and got together, she had three children of her own. “He was just wonderful with them,” Mrs. Berman said. “He was a truly wonderful man.”

The couple worked together for 27 years at their own catering business, Kaye’s Catering.

Asked how she worked with her husband for so long, Mrs. Berkman laughed and said, “He would take one job and I would take the other.”

After his career in the catering business, Mr. Berkman worked for the Commissioner of Jurors in Albany for many years until his retirement.

An avid reader, Mr. Berkman read the newspaper cover to cover every day; he also enjoyed reading John Grisham and David Baldacci, Mrs. Berkman said.

“Sandy had a wonderful, sharp mind and was a well-loved man,” his family wrote in a tribute.

During the winter months, he and his wife vacationed in Sebastian, Florida where they enjoyed going to various clubs and visiting The Barefoot Bay Marines.

His granddaughter recalled one splendid moment with her Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps: “I was battalion command for Albany JROTC, and he came in for an awards ceremony,” said Sarah Tuzzolo. When he stood up to be acknowledged as a veteran, he was given a standing ovation, Ms. Tuzzolo said proudly.

“He has left a hole in a lot of hearts,” Mrs. Berkman said.

****

Sanford Berkman is survived by wife, Lorraine; his son, Darren, and his wife Stephanie, his daughter, Stacy Webb, and her husband, Joseph, his son, Mark Tuzzolo, son Scott Tuzzolo, and son, Keith, and his wife, Kim; his grandchildren, Avery Berkman, Ashtyn Berkman, Michaela Tuzzolo, Sarah Tuzzolo, Scott Andrew Tuzzolo, Nico Tuzzolo, Anthony Tuzzolo, and Michael Tuzzolo; and his former daughters-in-law, Georgette Tuzzolo and Holly Cameron.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, Dec. 18, at 10:30 a.m. at Light’s Funeral Home at 1428 State St., Schenectady.

Mourners may leave condolences at www.sbfuneralhome.com.

Burial with full military honors will immediately follow at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery, Schuylerville.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one’s choice.

— Sean Mulkerrin

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