The stories about C. Paul Sandifur Sr. and Evelyn Sandifur will be told for years.
The tales shared Wednesday by some of the 700 people attending a memorial service for the millionaire philanthropists were just the beginning.
On stage at The Met, a downtown performing arts center that the Sandifurs had restored, family, friends and musicians detailed the idiosyncracies of Paul Sr., a parsimonious deal maker with an inferiority complex, and Evelyn, a patient, gracious supporter of women’s rights, the underprivileged and her husband’s dreams.
Despite the Sandifurs many accomplishments, it was their common touch that people remember most.
“Their marriage was often difficult,” said C. Paul Sandifur Jr., the eldest of four surviving children. “On one occasion, my mother returned home to find that her car was gone. My father had sold it.”
The Sandifurs died June 2 in an automobile accident near Chewelah, Wash. He was 92; she was 82.
At the time of his death, Sandifur was chairman of Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Co., a Spokane-based real estate, insurance and investment company that he founded in 1953. Metropolitan currently employs 400 people and has $1.1 billion in assets.
The service brought letters and memories from Gov. Mike Lowry and former county commissioner Skip Chilberg. It evoked a musical tribute on an ebony Steinway grand from pianist Kendall Feeney.
Senior vice president Irv Marcus recalled Sandifur taking the controls of a four-passenger airplane in flight over Moses Lake. At another time, he sold time-share condominiums in Hawaii on a napkin and a handshake - without telling anyone.
“Once we figured out what Paul had done… we asked the buyer to fax us a copy of the napkin,” Marcus said.
While Sandifur was pursuing business ventures, Evelyn raised the children and, in later years, contributed to homes for street children, centers for battered women and the performing arts. Her support freed her husband to build the Metropolitan empire, said friend, Jan Polek.
“Without Evelyn, his (Paul Sr.) successes would not have been possible,” she said.
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