Cover photo for Sandi Zinaman's Obituary
Sandi Zinaman Profile Photo

Sandi Zinaman

d. November 28, 2015

Sandi Zinaman Some of you knew her as the woman with the wild red curls behind the circulation desk at the Stone Ridge Library. Some of you knew her as the master caterer who provided all manner of sumptuous goodies for your weddings or film shoots, including those melt-in-your-mouth, buttery cream-filled cookies she called "pennies from heaven." And some of you might have known her as the beautiful Jewish Pre-Raphaelite muse who modeled for paintings by the late fantasy artist Jeff Jones. Sandi Zinaman, 63, died suddenly at home of a heart attack on November 28. Her last catering job was nearly complete, and according to Sandi's daughter, Galen, "Maxine Stein, who catered with mom for years, was the one who stepped in the next morning and miraculously iced the wedding cake and cupcakes." "We'd brainstorm on food a lot," said Lori Powell, who assisted Sandi with Quince Catering, which provided gourmet fare for weddings and for the crews of film and fashion shoots. Quince clients have included Vogue Italia, the Italian editon of Vogue magazine, and Hudson Valley Farm Hub, an organization dedicated to resilient agriculture and to building a vibrant food system for this bioregion. Powell, the former food director for Ladies Home Journal, had originally hired Sandi to cater food shoots for the magazine; they ended up "fast and furious" friends, developing recipes and cooking together. Born in Flushing on April 9, 1952, Sandi was a graduate of the High School of Art and Design whose work encompassed collages and delicate line drawings. Eventually, though, she turned from making art to inspiring the art of othersmost notably Jones, who used her as a model for his "Idyll" series in National Lampoon magazine, and her husband, Dan Green, a soon-to-be artist for DC and Marvel comics whom she met at a New Year's eve party in pre-hipster Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Sandi and Dan moved up to the mid-Hudson Valley in 1973 and lived all over the map of Ulster CountyKingston (where they briefly owned and operated the Lavender Hill Bookstore on Fair Street), Kyserike (where they renovated an old train station), Stone Ridge, and finally on Smith Lane in Marbletown, where Sandi tended to lavish gardens that included tiny creeping succulents among the stones, wild grasses and irises edging a fish pond, and a cornucopia of vegetables and herbs. For the past 34 years, Sandi was assistant director of the Stone Ridge Library, a particularly apt vocation for someone as literate and as enamored of books as she. Among her favorite writers were Colette, Djuna Barnes, Gail Godwin, Nancy Mitford, Calvin Trillin, and P. G. Wodehouse, and she took quiet pride in her ability to complete the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle in ink. Passionate about her heritage, Sandi was very active in the Jewish community. She taught Sunday school at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan, where Rabbi Klein married her and Dan in a small ceremony in his chambers, marking the first time he had conducted an interfaith marriage. She served on the board of Ezrath Israel in Ellenville for several years, and she studied with Rabbi Hecht of Congregation Agudas Achim in Kingston. As a progressive Democrat, Judaism for Sandi was something that engaged the social conscience as well as the spirit; she also loved the intellectual tradition of her religion, the arguments spurred by a close reading of Jewish law or commentaries on scripture, the ardent engagement with ideas that are not static but constantly evolving. But the most rewarding thing in Sandi Zinaman's life was the bringing together of those dearest to her around a table laden with lovingly cooked food. If you were lucky enough to be invited to dinner at her home, it was an experience you'd not easily forget. In particular, her annual Indian dinners, given to celebrate multiple January birthdays among her friends, featured a feast worthy of the Rajasthan: lamb cooked in yogurt with flecks of fresh green coriander; crispy onion bhajas dipped in tomato chutney; cauliflower cooked with ginger, turmeric, and cumin; and for dessert, a coconut cake whose three imposing layers made it look like Annapurna. "Every single year, in blizzards, no matter the weather, we'd gather around her table with a fire blazing in the fireplace, and partake of her incredible generosity of spirit," said Linda Fite, a friend of lengthy tenure. "It was immense, and it was a constant in our lives, year after year after year." Did I say, earlier, that Sandi "turned from making art"? She did not. Her true art was to create joyous occasions to be with friends, laughing, conversing, and sharing her nearly preternatural culinary chops. In addition to her husband and daughter, Sandi Zinaman is survived by a Lab rescue dog, Flora, and four cats: Mischa, Buster Kitten, Haruki, and Leo. Rabbi Joanna Katz will officiate at a service this Sunday, December 6, at High Meadow School, 3643 Main Street, Stone Ridge at 12:30.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sandi Zinaman, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Starts at 12:30pm (Eastern time)

Simpson-Gaus Funeral Home

411 Albany Ave., Kingston, NY 12401

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