Prior to embarking upon her professional path, Mary J. Auerbacher pursued an education at the University of Redlands in California, earning a Bachelor of Arts in biology in 1944. When she first began attending university, she had previously come from a congregational church in Los Angeles, where she sang in their choir. Following this accomplishment, she began her career as a first grade teacher at the Migratory Camp in Indio, California, between 1944 and 1945. Concluding her academic efforts at the University of Redlands with a Bachelor of Music in organ performance in 1947, Ms. Auerbacher subsequently founded the Valley Preparatory School in Redlands, California, in 1958, where she also worked as a music teacher from 1960 to 1976. One of her former students, Sally Worth, who currently resides in Redlands, went on to become a Sunday school teacher herself for many years.
Currently, Ms. Auerbacher excels as an organist and a choir director at St. Francis Mission in San Bernardino, California, a position she has held since 1976. Drawing upon familial roots in music performance, she has been playing the organ every Sunday since she was 19 years old. Surrounded by music since a formative age, Ms. Auerbacher notes that her father was a skilled violinist and later a French horn player.
Additionally, Ms. Auerbacher has served on the board of directors for Valley Preparatory School since 1976. Moreover, she found success as the president of the American Baptist Women from 1981 to 1983, as well as from 1990 to 1992. Further noted for her written works, she authored “Devotions,” which was published in 1995. Ms. Auerbacher also remains active as a member of the Redlands Community Music Association. Throughout her years of organ-playing, she finds the most rewarding aspect of her career to be aiding individuals in the congregation feel more connected with God through her music.
A testament to her success, Ms. Auerbacher has been the recipient of several honors and accolades. She was recognized by PEO International and as the Woman of the Year by the City of Redlands, and was honored as a Hero of the Arts by the Redlands Community Music Association and a Woman of Distinction by the University of the Redlands. Honored by the Redlands branch of the American Association of University Women, she was presented with a Grail Award from the Knights of the Round Table in 1988. Outside of her primary responsibilities, Ms. Auerbacher enjoys birdwatching, hiking and reading in her spare time. The most rewarding thing throughout her career was being able to lead people to Christ.