Photo of John Mahler
John Mahler

John Mahler

November 26, 2020

John Anthony Mahler, husband to Ivan Averchenko, brother to Elizabeth (Liz), and friend to many, passed in New York City on November 26, 2020 at the age of 56 from complications related to heart failure. Raised in New Providence, New Jersey, he was the son of William and Rita Mahler. John was a highly intelligent and spirited boy and he was an early nature enthusiast.

John attended Boston College where he majored in Political Science and began his life-long appreciation of history. John also became a student environmental activist while at BC. Upon graduation from BC in 1986, John lived in his adopted home of Boston, building a network of lifelong friends, his second family.

John's professional life launched with a position at Earth Watch. Ultimately, he transitioned to the field of digital marketing, where he was known as a passionate strategist and dedicated mentor at Digitas and Arnold Worldwide. Most recently, John was a Partner and Director of Strategy at Greater Than One, working on accounts related to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

John's work led him to New York where he met Ivan in 2010 and continued to grow his circle of friends. He had many interests, including film, history, literature, and travel, and led an annual group pilgrimage to Provincetown, MA. Provincetown, with its celebration of queer culture and always-active embrace of inclusion, was a special place for John going back to the 1990s, when he had share houses with close friends.

John was a loving husband, friend, neighbor and consummate host. He was known for his generosity of spirit, abundance of kindnesses, unconditional love to animals and other creatures. John was a captivating storyteller, a person of enormous charm and remarkable ability to whip together the best margarita in the world at a moments notice. He remained a lifelong political and social activist and was particularly proud of his support of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement.
Given his commitment to social justice issues, the family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made to charities that were meaningful to John, including: 1) Alzheimer's Association (https://www.alz.org); 2) Save the Manatee Club, Inc (https://www.savethemanatee.org); 3) The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (https://www.leslielohman.org); 4) Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (https://www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org); 5) Seriousfun Children's Network (https://seriousfun.org); 6) Fenway Health in Boston (https://fenwayhealth.org); 7) The Thirteen (https://www.thirteen.org)

A larger celebration of John's life and legacy will be held post-pandemic in 2021.

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Hi Ivan and family, I wanted to reach out and let you know how sorry I am for your loss, you are in my prayers.


Posted by: Debbie Mahler - Philadelphia, PA - December 18, 2020

Hi Ivan, As I mentioned to Liz, I wanted to reach out and express my sympathies to you and say I hope to meet you in person in the new year should there be a celebration of life for John. John and I had one of our best conversations 2 weeks before he passed and I'll cherish that forever. He was a great guy. Who wouldn't know that.... You are in my thoughts.


Posted by: Raymond Penko - , - December 19, 2020

I will miss you , my friend. Your loving devotion to your friends is being reflected back to you in heaven with the warmest memories and prayers. Rest in peace❤


Posted by: Margaret Driscoll - Hopkinton, MA - December 22, 2020

John was a sweet man who was a valued colleague. Always able to count on John for insight, and a great sense of humor. He will be missed by many. My deepest condolences to the Mahler family.


Posted by: Ken Winell - Jersey City, NJ - December 24, 2020

I will miss your kindness, your charm, your empathy and, of course, your rapier wit. You were a gentle soul who richly deserved the love and admiration of your family and friends. Your passing is an ebb in a truly difficult year. May you soar of angels wings and rest comfortably my friend.
I thank you for your friendship, and will remember the good times fondly.

My sincere condolences to your family and friends.

Kieran Walsh


Posted by: Kieran Walsh - Madison, CT - December 28, 2020

I am so sad I did not know John was Ill. We were best friends during high school and will always live and miss him. I will definitely want to attend the celebration of his life. My condolences to Ivan and Liz.


Posted by: Susan Merkel - Wellington, FL - October 19, 2021

John , whose BC friends lovingly nick-named "Chauf" because of a Greek sailor's cap he wore all the time which was jokingly refererred to as a chauffer's hat, was part of a remarkable group of students who were variously connected with HALEY HOUSE. Haley House was the center for communal living and social jutice activism on campus. I was a brand new professor in tthe Theology Department and was grateful to have John and many other Haley House community members in my core theoilogy course "Faith and Identity", THeir passionate friendships and deep commitment to the "love that does justcie" were and remain an inspiration to me.

Ivan, I so wish I had been able to stay in touch with John and to meet you.. You both would have loved to meet Sasha, the little Russian kid my husband TIm and I adopted 25 years (now 30!) ; We would have delighted to welcome you to our home in Provincetown. I was moved by your tribute that makes it clear that John never lost his passion to leave the world a better, more just and more inclusvely welcoming place. May those memories be to you a blessing. John may not have been a "chauffer" but he clearly was behind the wheel of the Freedom Bus in many, many ways. Thakn
John ( McDargh@bc.edu)


Posted by: John Mcdargh, Ph.D. - Chestnut Hill, MA - October 28, 2021

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