The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, March 16, 2016 12:16 am

Former councilman, businessman dies at home

Rebecca S. Green | The Journal Gazette

Longtime business, civic and political leader Max P. Shambaugh died early Sunday in his Fort Wayne home.

The 93-year-old was a band member and a 1940 graduate of North Side High School.

The day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a 20-year-old Shambaugh joined the Army Air Corps and flew 35 missions as a pilot. 

According to a 2006 article in The Journal Gazette, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross in March 2006, recognized for his heroic efforts during a B-17 bombing run to Wittlich, Germany.

As the pilot, Shambaugh ordered his crew to abandon the plane after it was heavily damaged by gunfire during the flight. He told his co-pilot he would be right behind him as they ejected with their parachutes. 

However, Shambaugh realized the plane was too close to the ground and he jumped back in the pilot’s seat, crashing landing the plane into a French field.

Members of the French underground helped get him and his crew to safety.

Upon his return to the States, Shambaugh finished his active duty and time in the reserves and then his degree in mechanical engineering at Purdue University in 1947.

Shambaugh joined his father in the family business, Shambaugh and Sons Construction, and in 1976 his own son Mark joined the company. Shambaugh & Sons is now a national multidiscipline engineering and construction firm with offices in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and California.

In addition to time on many nonprofit boards in northeast Indiana for organizations such as Junior Achievement, the YMCA and the Rescue Mission, Shambaugh taught Sunday School at Crescent Avenue Methodist Church for more than 20 years.

Shambaugh served multiple terms on the Allen County Council into the mid-1970s and remained active in Allen County politics.

"He was certainly an icon in this community," said Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters, whose nephew is marrying Shambaugh’s granddaughter in two weeks.

"He had a tremendous life and a tremendous impact on this community," Peters said. "He played a leadership role in county politics for such a long time and left a big imprint for county councils and other elected officials in Allen County."

Peters said Shambaugh managed to get a lot done in the community politically, without ruffling a lot of feathers.

"His life reads like a novel," Peters said. "It is absolutely incredible."

He is survived by his wife Sylvia, children Mark P. Shambaugh, his wife Sandie Shambaugh; Cynthia Armbruster, her husband Greg Armbruster; and Rebecca Shambaugh; and grandchildren Morgen, Madison, and Sierra Shambaugh; and Nichole and Bryce Armbruster.

Funeral Services will be 10 a.m. Friday at D.O. McComb & Sons Pine Valley Park Funeral Home, 1320 East Dupont Road with calling one hour prior. Additional calling will be held D.O. McComb & Sons Pine Valley Park Funeral Home from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday. A Masonic Service will follow at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Burial will be in Highland Park Cemetery, 2403 E. Wallen Road. 

Memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or the Huntertown Fire Dept.

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