Sandy Berliner, former FDM publisher, dies at 86
Sandy Berliner

Sandy Berliner, former publisher of FDM magazine.

Samuel “Sandy” Louis Berliner, former publisher of FDM, the forerunner to FDMC magazine, has died after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 86.

Berliner was born on December 18, 1937, and died February 26, 2024, at his home in La Quinta, California, surrounded by family.

Born in the Bronx, New York, where he attended The Bronx High School of Science, Berliner moved to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania where he met his wife, Barbara (née Wittenberg). After graduating from Penn, Sandy and Barbara married in 1959 and moved to Queens, New York. After their son Randy was born, they moved to Edison, New Jersey, where they had two more children, Sheri and Brad. Sandy began his business career as an advertising salesperson in New York.

He was eventually offered a promotion and moved his family to the Chicago area where he became the publisher of several trade magazines in the furniture, kitchen and bath industries, including FDM, CabinetMaker, and UDM. In 1982, Sandy published his primary magazine, Furniture Design & Manufacturing (FDM), in Spanish for distribution in Mexico, Central and South America, which earned him the praise of the late Senator Charles H. Percy of Illinois. 

In 1998, Berliner and five other principals formed Chartwell Communications to purchase FDM, CabinetMaker and UDM from Cahners and WoodshopBusiness magazine from William Sampson. When Chartwell was eventually sold to Watt Publishing, Berliner retired and moved to La Quinta, California.

In his role in the Chicago business community, Sandy had the honor of giving a tour of Chicago to the future 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush.

Outside of work Berliner was also an accomplished pianist. He and Barbara did duets at the piano as she also acted and sang in theater at Penn, him playing the piano and her singing along. Sandy was known to all as an avid sports fan. He was an excellent tennis player and golfer, and coached youth baseball and basketball as well. He was also a huge fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and the Penn Quakers and Indiana Hoosiers basketball teams. 

Berliner is survived by his wife of 64 years, Barbara, his three children, Randy (Bambi), Sheri, Brad, granddaughters Rachel and Emily, his brother Robert (Arlene), numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, and many grand-pets. He was the son of the late Reuben and Juliette Berliner of New York, New York, and son-in-law to the late Julius and Anne Wittenberg of Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

A casual celebration of his life was held at the Citrus Club clubhouse in La Quinta, California, on March 5, 2024.



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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.