John Sauerman, a beloved history teacher who worked at the Lawrenceville School for four decades, died on April 25. He was 65.
Born in Elizabeth, on June 20, 1953, John graduated from the Peddie School and then earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Cambridge and his master’s degree from Brown University.
He began teaching with the New Jersey Scholars Program in the mid-1980s and served as the program director from 1989 to 2016. He taught history at Lawrenceville from 1977 to 2017 and was the history department chair in the mid- to late 1990s. During his tenure at Lawrenceville, John served as the housemaster in Haskell House, assistant housemaster in the Dickinson and Griswold Houses, duty master in the Cleve and Reynolds Houses, and director of day students. He was passionate about the schools’ performing arts program, and served as a director, technical manager, and sometimes as an actor for the Periwig Club. He also led the school’s Reach out to the Arts program from 1989 to 2017. He is an honorary member of the class of 1984.
“A devoted and passionate teacher, an intellectual leader, a dedicated promoter of the arts–not to mention housemaster, singer, and actor–John has been a pivotal figure in the Lawrenceville community for decades,” said Chris Cunningham, assistant head master at Lawrenceville. “Those of us who have had the good fortune to work with John over the years will miss his powerful intellect, his kindness and generosity, and, of course, his booming voice.”
Students considered John to be a tough grader, but appreciated how much they learned from him and said his advice helped them later in their lives. “He’s brilliant. If you listen to him, you will be able to write papers equal to college sophomores,” wrote one student in a review. “It was the proudest A I ever got.”
John is survived by his mother, Irma H. Sauerman, brother, Eric W. Sauerman, and sister-in-law Peggy L. Sauerman, all of Long Beach, New York, as well as nephews Douglas E. Sauerman (Deer Park, New York) and Ryan C. Sauerman (Washington, D.C.). His father (Jack E. Sauerman) and brother (Karl A. Sauerman) predeceased him.
The Lawrenceville School will celebrate John’s life at a Memorial Service this Sunday, May 6, at 2 p.m. in the Edith Memorial Chapel at The Lawrenceville School, 2500 Main Street, Lawrenceville. The service is open to the public.