John Auerbacher of Scarsdale died Sept. 15 of multiple myeloma cancer, 16 years after initial diagnosis and days before turning 69.
He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Patricia “Patsy” Mayer of St. Louis and Ernest Auerbacher, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, of Ludwigshafen, Germany.
He attended Meramec School and John Burroughs School, University of Wisconsin and Juilliard School of Dance before transferring to Columbia University from which he received a B.A. in philosophy. Post college, he worked as a youth counselor with Abbott House, a server at Tavern on the Green and a fine furniture maker, before heading to Hofstra School of Law. As an attorney, he joined several law firms in Manhattan before establishing a solo practice in contracts, real estate and copyright law.
While skilled as an attorney, Mr. Auerbacher found even greater rewards, his family said, from being a father, coaching Little League and girls softball, leading Boy Scout trips and attending volleyball matches. After a diagnosis of multiple myeloma cancer in 2004, he became a volunteer nature educator with the Sheldrake Environmental Center in Larchmont. More recently, he joined the Scarsdale Conservation Advisory Committee, assisting with the village’s new tree law and the Scarsdale food scraps composting program. A lifelong conservationist, he embraced the native plant movement and, with his wife, transformed their suburban lawn into a bird and pollinator sanctuary.
In his most significant role, Mr. Auerbacher was co-leader of the International Myeloma Foundation’s Westchester County support group starting in 2015. The group meets once a month and he ran meetings until shortly before his death. The friendships, companionship and service to that group motivated him to pursue multiple avenues of treatment and to share the information he gleaned, thereby prolonging his own and many other people’s lives.
Mr. Auerbacher is predeceased by his mother and survived by his father and stepmother, his wife, two children and two brothers.
Donations in his honor may be made to the International Myeloma Foundation, North Hollywood, California.