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Our Founder Ernest Auerbach

Ernest Auerbach was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1916, and attended high school in Brooklyn. Moving to a farm in upstate New York during the Great Depression, he raised produce with his brothers to sell, and also acquired a lifelong love of horses. He eventually became a produce broker representing American Fruit Growers.

At the outbreak of World War II, Mr. Auerbach enlisted in the U.S. Army and was placed in the U.S. Army Horse Cavalry, an elite element of the Army’s front line troops. He soon became an officer in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps and was honorably discharged as a captain after extensive service in Europe.

Visiting California in 1946, Mr. Auerbach decided to stay there. Making Santa Monica his base, he started a small real estate company. On his second date with his future wife Lisa, he knew that she would soon become Mrs. Auerbach.

By 1957, he had built his company into the Ernest Auerbach Company, an integrated real estate company focusing on real estate construction, management and financing that had developed and built single and multi-family residential, mid rise, commercial, retail, industrial, and hospital projects totaling in excess of $500 million and 15 million square feet, comprising 2,000 properties in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. Mr. Auerbach's first born daughter Lorna Auerbach joined the company in 1978, founded and presided over Auerbach Leasing & Management, Inc. and Auerbach Commercial Realty Corp. and now runs Auerbach Realty Holdings, LLC. 

In 1977, he purchased 1,000 acres of ranch land in San Diego County and developed EA Ranches, one of California’s premier thoroughbred breeding farms. EA Ranches has bred and trained many successful racehorses, including Belle’s Flag and Lottery Winner, a winner of the Santa Anita Goodwood Handicap.


In 2001, he fulfilled a long-held dream when he founded Ramona National Bank, which became The Bank of Southern California, a successful community bank based in San Diego.

A tireless, brilliant and understated businessman, Ernest was also a tender husband and a devoted family man who, according to family members, “always brought his briefcase home but rarely opened it.” A daily swimmer  and golfer with boundless stamina, he remained fully active in his business interests until the last weeks of his life.

Despite his success in business and in life, Ernest remained mindful of how lucky he was and sought throughout his life to share his good fortune with a wider world. An active philanthropist with his wife, he was a benefactor of Ramona’s new library, the City of Hope, the American Youth Symphony, the Los Angeles Music Center (of which he was a Founder), St. John’s Hospital, the Santa Monica YMCA, the University of Judaism and the Jewish Community of Pacific Palisades, as well as its later embodiment, Kehillat Israel synagogue, American Jewish University, the Jewish Federation, the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Home for the Aging.

He served on the boards of the Jewish Federation Council, Santa Monica City College, the Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center Foundation, Del Amo Mental Health Hospital, City of Hope and American Jewish University. He also served on the Dean’s Council of the UCLA School of Architecture and Urban Planning, as president of the Jewish Community of Pacific Palisades, and as president of the Sportsman’s Club and the Diamond Circle of the City of Hope. He was also a member of the Brentwood Country Club Board.

He was the beloved husband of Lisa D. Auerbach for 63 years. Mr. Auerbach died in 2010 at the age of 93, followed by his wife two years later. He is survived by two daughters and two grand daughters.