Born July 27, 1906, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, John was the second of five sons born to John R. and Mabel Sauerbrunn. A lifelong athlete, John attended preparatory school at Dean Academy and entered William & Mary in 1927. He was an out-of-state student on athletic scholarship. While at W&M, he lettered in baseball and basketball, was president of his social fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa honorary society. John graduated in 1931 with a bachelor's degree in Science.
John's true joy was found in science education, where his career began in New Jersey and ended with 20 years of service as a science teacher, athletic coach, and guidance counselor for Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida.
John died in 1990, one week shy of his 85th birthday. His daughter, Susan Blexrud, donated his letter sweater to W&M in May 2014.