Originally Published: April 2, 2011 7:50 p.m.
Frank M. Sandler, beloved and quirky husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, uncle, and friend, passed away March 24, 2011, after a long and spirited struggle with graft-versus-host-disease following a stem cell transplant for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Frank brought his audacious humor, unique Frankness, and intelligent focus to everything he did - and as such lived life fully and independently in a way few do.
Frank was born in Bay City, Mich., and attended Phillips Academy in Andover and the University of Michigan. He then traveled the world, performing as a clown, magician and juggler. After "clowning around" for 10 years, he attended law school at Arizona State University and was an attorney for 24 years. Even while ill, he stayed involved in law volunteering as a mediator, arbitrator, and hearing officer. He also volunteered at the Highland Center for Natural History, the Citizens Water Advocacy Group, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He showed his tremendous love for his kids and his nieces and nephews by teaching them to not fear life, but to embrace and enjoy it. For the past four years, he has been a dedicated Grumps, relishing playing with his grandkids. As the granddaughter he named Annacora said with joy, "Grumps is so silly!" Frank became an ordained minister so that he could perform wedding ceremonies for his daughter and close friends. Although Frank did eventually join mainstream society, he remained a lifetime member of the International Jugglers Association, and continued to seek out adventure and exotic travel to the very end.
Frank is survived by his wife, Rhonda; daughters Brooke Ike and Megan Epum; grandchildren Annacora and Makoto Ike, and Ikenna Epum; sons-in-law Ryan Ike and Patrick Epum; father Aaron Sandler; brothers Peter Sandler, Mathew (Jessica) Sandler, Andy (Gaye) Sandler, and Terry (Amy) Goodman; nieces Lindsay Sandler and Megan Sandler; nephews Joel Sandler, Josh and Jeffrey Goodman; and the hundreds of friends he touched in his 56 years. Frank was preceded in death by his mother Jo Anne and his stepmother Sandra. We say goodbye with a heavy heart and a Krankie face.
According to Frank's wishes, there will be a Celebration of Life on April 16 at the 'Tis Gallery, 105 S. Cortez in Prescott, Ariz. The gathering will begin at 4 p.m., with shared memories at 5 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. You may visit www.ruffnerwakelin.com to sign the guestbook.
Information provided by survivors.