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John Peter Aigner

December 23, 1937 ~ August 2, 2023 (age 85) 85 Years Old


John Peter Aigner, a lifelong advocate of learning, teaching, and mentoring, died on Wednesday, August 2, in Sleepy Hollow, New York, after a brief hospitalization. He was 85. With his willingness to try the untried, a great sense of humor, and what he called “street smarts,” John led a full and dynamic life of entrepreneurship, productivity, community, and service to others. 

John was born to Mady and Lucien Aigner in 1937 in Paris. Shortly after John’s birth, the family moved to the United States, where they welcomed three more children: Steven, Anne-Marie, and Katherine. 

John was raised mainly on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and graduated from Stuyvesant High School. He entered the City College of New York, in Manhattan, at age 15, but his course of education was interrupted by a family move to Great Barrington, Massachusetts. At age 17, he went back to CCNY, where he met his first wife, Sheila. Sheila and John married and went on to run a variety of businesses, starting with a café in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in the early 1960s. Realizing hospitality was not for them, they returned to New York, where John worked doggedly as a reporter for two African American newspapers, The Citizen Call and New York Age, in addition to the Brooklyn Heights Press, before being drafted into the Army. He served two years in Maryland, where Sheila joined him. The couple then found their way to Virginia, where they kept quite busy: John was a Wearever salesman and an IBM representative, and he worked for Etienne Aigner (the apparel designer and his uncle); and Sheila gave birth to two daughters, Lisa and Robin. The family eventually returned to New York, where John had a stint as a vice president for Zentall Jewelry (another uncle’s company). In the 1970s, the couple ran a Mount Vernon–based weekly paper and a typography/print business that supported newspapers such as The Catholic News, The Irish Echo, and bulletins for various churches and synagogues. In the 1980s, John met Stacia, who would become his second wife, and they welcomed John’s third daughter, Alycen. John, Stacia, and Alycen lived in a huge studio-sized tent in the Berkshires for a time at Pumpkin Hollow, a theophilosophical retreat center, and John and Stacia were eventually married there. John and Stacia also lived in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and Pelham, New York, before settling in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where they raised Alycen. 

In the 1990s, John married his third wife, Rena, and John founded his own company, Livelihood, a Manhattan-based career-and-employment center, where he taught “workmapping,” a job-search and personal-marketing process. It was also during these years that John taught himself to Rollerblade and would skate from their home in Brooklyn Heights to his office in midtown Manhattan. Rena and John would eventually move upstate, to Holmes, New York, where John enjoyed swimming regularly across the large lake that the house overlooked. In the mid-2000s, the couple went their separate ways, and John became an employment specialist for South Beach Psychiatric Center, where he worked with the Employment Services Division and coordinated the Jobs Project, an initiative to promote public awareness, reduce stigma, build community, and develop employment opportunities for people with psychiatric disabilities. Around this time, he developed his professional alter ego, The Jobfather, and offered himself up to work pro bono in mentoring and life coaching. 

In his later years, John added yet another specialty to his résumé, Right Livelihood Mentor, and began his involvement with the Wise Aging program, holding twice-a-month meetings focusing on conscious aging. In the past few years, John accomplished more than most people do in a lifetime. He wrote a memoir, The Jobfather Chronicles, and was hard at work on another book, Safe Seniors User’s Manual. In a final irony, John had just rebranded himself yet again and was launching Papi John in the Cloud, a podcast devoted to topics related to aging.

He spent his last years living in a community-minded Victorian multifamily house in Ossining, New York, where the tenants were tight-knit and enjoyed regular happy hours together. He was relentlessly curious by nature and affable—he loved living in such a neighborly atmosphere; it’s easy to imagine him holding court at those gatherings. He also spent much of his time in service to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, where he was an active member, a tireless bringer of technology into the space, and adept at bringing people together.

John is survived by his daughters and their spouses/partners, Lisa (Jack) Camilliere, Robin Aigner (Michael), and Alycen Aigner (Dan); his brother, Steven Aigner, and his sister, Anne-Marie Aigner, and their partners and children; and his three grandchildren, Michelle Franco, Jake Camilliere, and Kyle Camilliere, and their partners (also lots of grandpets). He is also survived by ex-spouses Sheila, Stacia, and Rena; the extended families convened every year and enjoyed large holiday celebrations together. John leaves behind his dearest friends June and Gil, in addition to many loyal friends in his community and in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation. He was predeceased by his sister Katherine.

John’s family and friends fondly remember his wit, his wisdom, his tenacity, his vibrancy, and a work ethic that was not only unstoppable, but drew people in (and often put them to work!). He had a huge laugh and employed it often.

Here are John’s words about himself and how he saw the world, from his LinkedIn page: 

Resilient. Multi-skilled. Innovator. Street-smart. Mentor. Out-of-the-box. Wise (it took a while).

To continue to be of service to this planet. We are all in the same boat.

Gratitude for what we have. Knowledge and love are the only things which, the more we share, the more we have.

A life celebration will be held on Saturday, September 30, 2023,

from 11am–3pm (doors will be open at 10; service will begin promptly at 11) at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Hudson Valley,

2021 Albany Post Rd, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520


In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in John’s memory to one of his preferred charitable organizations: The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Croton or the Ossining Food Pantry,

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Celebration of Life
September 30, 2023

11:00 AM
Unitarian Universalist Congregation
2021 Albany Post Road
Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520


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