Joel Sachs

Joel Sachs, spouse of Marlene Rockmore, and father of Jill and Anna Sachs, passed away quietly early Saturday morning August 11, 2012. Joel was diagnosed with Stage IV non-operable pancreatic cancer in May 2011 and against all odds survived for 15 months after diagnosis. Fewer than 25% of Stage IV patients survive past 12 months. What was remarkable about Joel is that he was determined to live a normal and active life. He continued to work, bicycled, walked, participated in neighborhood activities, took family trips to California, Hawaii and Cape Cod, went sailing, gardened, and cared for his friends and neighbors. Joel was 65 at the time of his death, and was working for Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) in Lexington, Mass. Prior to joining AER, Joel worked at Programart in Cambridge, and Compass in Wakefield, Mass. He was known by his neighbors, colleagues, and community as a generous, thoughtful, wise, smart and reliable, friend with great humor and wit. Joel was born in Madison, Wisconsin, where his father was a professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin. As a young boy, famous physicists such as Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller visited his familys home in Madison. The family moved to Chicago in Joels senior year of high school when his father accepted a position at the University of Chicago. Joel attended John Hopkins University, Berklee College of Music, University of Massachusetts-Boston, and earned a Masters Degree in Computer Science from Boston University. He was an excellent sailor, having learned sailing cruising with his father on the Great Lakes; He spoke fluent French and was an accomplished musician. Joel had an early career as a musician and gained some fame on local Boston circles in the late sixties when he played bass guitar with a popular Ivy Rock band called Bead Game. Joel and Marlene met in 1978 and moved to Arlington in 1988 to raise their family, and became active members of the community. Joel was also a devoted runner, and ran every Saturday and Sunday for over 15 years with a loyal group of friends. Joels commitment to bicycle commuting was legendary. He commuted by bicycle to work, winter and summer for over 20 years, in the years before there were bike lanes. To Joel, every day was a good day for a bike ride. One colleague remembered how Joel biked from Arlington to Wakefield in a snowstorm, and arrived at the office grinning from ear to ear about his accomplishment. He inspired his younger colleagues to bike commute. Joel continued to bicycle commute to work through the early rounds of chemotherapy including climbing the Park Avenue hill to his home. Joel is survived by his wife, Marlene Rockmore, his daughter Jill Sachs of San Francisco, Anna Sachs, Medford, MA, and by his sister, Judy Crow, Portola Valley California, Professor Rebecca Sachs Norris of Maynard, MA, and brother Jeffrey Sachs of Basking Ridge, New Jersey. He is also survived by his stepmother, Carolyn Sachs of Lexington, MA, 2 stepsisters Kate Wolf, Lincoln MA and Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, Newton, MA and a stepbrother Tom Wolf, Brookline, MA and 14 nieces and nephews. Services were held at the familys home on Aug 12 and 13. Burial was private. The family is asking that donations in the memory of Joel Sachs be made to Team Joel Pancreatic Cancer Action Legacy Fund, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 1500 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 200, Manhattan Beach, California 90266, Attention: Kimberly Payne. Donations can also be made online by connecting to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network donation page, but please be sure donations are to "Team Joel Pancreatic Cancer Action Legacy Fund." Add the note that the donation is in memory of Joel Sachs.

Published in The Arlington Advocate from Aug. 31 to Sept. 7, 2012