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Marilyn Fink Goldman, 95: 'To her, everyone was royalty.'

June 8, 1924 — Aug. 18, 2019

Marilyn Fink Goldman had a favorite saying: "It was beshert." In Yiddish, it means, "It was meant to be."

An accomplished businesswoman, generous friend and loving mother, she had plenty of opportunities to use that phrase.

Mrs. Goldman died of cancer Aug. 18 under Hospice care in her home at Harbour's Edge Senior Living Community in Delray Beach, Fla. She was 95.

Born Lorraine Marilyn Gross in Bradford, Pa., she grew up on Homer Avenue in Buffalo with her two younger siblings. Their father, Max Gross, owned Chic Maid Hat Co., a hat manufacturer in the city.

In 1942, she married a soldier named Harold Fink and changed her name to Marilyn Fink. Together with her husband, they turned Tompkins & Fink Realty into a successful Buffalo real estate company. A smart and outgoing woman, she excelled working with people. She loved to help them and saw her work as a realtor as an opportunity to do just that.

"To her, everyone was royalty," her daughter Ronna Gershberg said on the phone from Boca Raton, Fla.

Mrs. Goldman and her dog, Punkin. (Contributed photo)

Mr. Fink and his wife were early adopters of real estate technology, with a home listing computer that filled an entire room. It put out punch cards with information about houses for sale, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms they had. The Maryland-based company that developed the computer eventually hired her to train other companies how to use it.

Mr. Fink died in 1967, when their two daughters were just teenagers.

Mrs. Goldman didn't finish her studies at Indiana University after high school, so she went back to college at the University at Buffalo in the late 1960s — carpooling with her daughter Ronna, who was a student at the same time. Mrs. Goldman, then in her 40s, finished her remaining credits and received a bachelor's degree in sociology.

"She inspired us to be strong, successful women," said Ronna, who went on to manage seven radio stations in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Ronna's sister, Shelley Rosenthal, owned a successful interior design firm in Boca Raton.

In 1974, their mother married Simon Goldman, a radio station owner in Jamestown, retired and moved to Jamestown. Shortly after that, they became snowbirds, wintering in Boca Raton, then becoming full-time residents. Mr. Goldman died in 1999.

Mrs. Goldman cared for both husbands through terminal cancer, doing exhaustive research and seeking out the best treatments. She drove Mr. Goldman to Michigan each month for treatments that Ronna credits with adding 10 years to his life.

Generous with her time and with charities, she was involved with several committees at her senior living community and was a past volunteer at Hospice.

She shared the last six years of her life with her 98-year-old boyfriend, Robert Clair, whom she met at the pool in Harbour's Edge. They visited Ronna's home every weekend to watch football, where they rooted for the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles.

Mrs. Goldman and her boyfriend, Robert Clair. (Contributed photo)

Mr. Clair and Mrs. Goldman often went to the ballet, theater and opera. They went out with their many friends and to formal dances. Popular and active, she was known as the Mayor of Harbour's Edge.

"They were busier than we were. We had to make dates with them in advance," Ronna said.

Organized and sharp until her last days, she guided her daughters through the final arrangements needed to put her affairs in order, including where to keep her ashes. Witty to the end, she joked that they should put them at Bloomingdale's, "So I know you'll visit me."

In addition to her daughters, she is survived by two stepsons, Michael Goldman and Paul Goldman, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

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