Sneary, M.D. Max Memorial Scholarship Fund
Awards $2,500 one-time for a high school senior from Noble County to pursue a career in the medical field, with preference given to East Noble applicants. (NCCF)
Donor Fund Story:
Compassionate, caring and dedicated are the words colleagues and community leaders used to describe Dr. Max Sneary. Dr. Max E. Sneary was born on Oct. 13, 1930, in Zanesfield, Ohio. He came to Avilla with his family when his father, Dr. K.D. Sneary, opened a medical practice in the southeastern Noble County community in 1934. Dr. Sneary graduated from Avilla High School in 1949. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Wabash College in three years, spent one year at Indiana University and four years at the Indiana University Medical School where he graduated in 1957. Dr. Sneary married Joy A. Preston on April 4, 1950, and had two children, Candice Barbalesco and Jennifer Laur.
On July 8, 1957, he started his family medical practice with his father and brother-in-law, Dr. E. Dale Mattmiller, in a clinic on South Main Street, Avilla. After his father’s death in 1961, Dr. Sneary built a new medical facility on Baum Street in Avilla, which opened in 1962. Over the years Dr. Sneary helped inoculate schoolchildren regardless of the ability of their parents to pay, and he was helpful in providing the Boy Scouts with a place to meet in Avilla at no charge.
He donated countless hours of service to the Noble County Red Cross and to McCray Memorial Hospital, Kendallville, and its board of directors. He served as Noble County coroner and for many years was a leader and Sunday school teacher at Calvary United Methodist Church, Avilla. Dr. Sneary was a founding board member of the Noble County Community Foundation.
“He was caring and a hard-working man who never failed to respond to any situation when he was needed,” said Dr. Terry Gaff, who began his practice in Noble County in 1982.
Those accomplishments were despite suffering from heart disease most of his adult life. He has his first heart attack at 35 and underwent coronary bypass surgery at 39. In 1979, after another heart attack, he underwent a second heart bypass operation. In June 1988, he had a heart transplant. Three months later he was seeing patients again.
In 1988, the Avilla Chamber of Commerce honored Dr. Sneary as its Citizen of the Year. In 1990, he was named Indiana Family Physician of the Year, an award bestowed on him by the Indiana Academy of Family Physicians Association. In June 1995, Dr. Sneary retired after 38 years of service to the community. However, he continued as medical director of the Sacred Heart Home, Avilla.
Dr. Sneary was credited with recruiting four medical physicians to Noble County over the years…Dr. Joseph Greenlee, Dr. James Chandler, Dr. Gerald Warrener and Dr. Terry Gaff.
“He was one of the finest physicians we ever has in this community,” said Dr. James Chandler, who was in partnership with Dr. Sneary since 1973. “He was one of the funniest but most compassionate men I knew. He was very dedicated to the practice of medicine. His primary concern was for people.”
This scholarship fund was created by Joy in memory of her late husband. The scholarship criteria were chosen to best honor his memory and his life’s work throughout Noble County.