GALVESTON — Dr. Sanford (Sandy) Rubin died just shy of his 80th birthday on Saturday, April 17, 2021.
Sandy was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1941. At the age of six, he co-hosted a popular radio program that compelled Mary Martin to invite him to join her production of “Annie Get Your Gun.” Sandy declined this offer and insisted that he wanted to become a doctor.
After diagnosing himself as a juvenile diabetic at the age of 11, Sandy never let diabetes slow him down. He attended Waco High School, graduated from Baylor University and received his medical degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Sandy held positions in the departments of radiology at the schools of medicine at both the University of Tennessee and the University of Arkansas. He returned to UTMB in 1979 as Chief of Thoracic Radiology. During his tenure, he also served as the Director of the Radiology Residency Program and as the Director of Medical Student Education. His heart was in teaching and he was dedicated to supporting the growth and learning of medical students and residents. Legendary for his inspiring and humanizing teaching methodology, Dr. Rubin was beloved for his humor and empathy and revered for his expertise. He was repeatedly recognized as a favorite teacher. He won numerous awards throughout his career including the Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award at UTMB and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Thoracic Radiology of which he served as president and editor of their journal. He remained at UTMB until his retirement in 2005.
Sandy was a proud father to his children, Ross and his wife Michelle, Corey, and Jana and her husband Jesse. The Rubin home was always open to their many friends, several of whom considered Sandy as their second dad. Dr. Rubin enjoyed volunteering in the public schools, imparting his expertise and knowledge regarding the dangers of cigarette smoking and his passions for nature and specifically, herpetology. Sandy was always happy to hear from students later when they told him they had never smoked a single cigarette after his compelling presentation.
Sandy was a lifelong learner and an avid reader until his last days. He had a passion for environmentalism and conservation and volunteered as a Master Naturalist. He enjoyed tennis, bird watching all over the world, Gulf Coast fishing, and cooking delicious food in his wood smoker.
Sandy was preceded in death by his parents Estelle and Louis, his brother Richard, his beloved sister-in-law Greta Herman, and his favorite dachshund, Conway Tweenie, from whom we all hope he is receiving many snuggles on the other side of the rainbow bridge. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and despite the prognosis of juvenile diabetes, his family feels so fortunate that he lived a long, meaningful, and impactful life.
He is survived by his dear wife of 56 years, Norma, his children, and his five grandchildren, Ike, Jed, Adam, Orli, and Aliyah, who called him WooWoo.
The family has immense gratitude for all the healthcare professionals who cared for Sandy throughout his life but would especially like to recognize the doctors who took care of him these last few weeks: Dr. Mike Silva, Dr. Joel Patterson, Dr. Maria Belacazar and Dr. Matt Dacso.
Donations in Sandy’s memory may be made to the Rubin Endowed Presidential Scholarship at UTMB, Stark Diabetes Center at UTMB, Rosenberg Library, or the charity of your choice.