Maks "Max" A. Stajich, a former city commissioner of South Pasadena who was also a musician and an aeronautical engineer, died Saturday (June 24, 1995) at St. Petersburg General Hospital. He was 88.
His wife of 52 years, Sibylle, said he had suffered from kidney and heart problems.
She also said he recently had finished his autobiography, A Man of Many Hats, and that it would be published soon.
Mr. Stajich served 10 years on the commission through 1993. During his tenure, he served two terms as vice mayor. He was defeated in his bid to return to the commission in 1994.
He was a newcomer to elected office when he won a special election to finish an unexpired commission term in 1983. He had previously served two years on the South Pasadena Planning and Zoning Board and one year on the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County.
While commissioner of public safety, he was instrumental in several of the council's accomplishments, including sign and sewer ordinances designed to make property owners responsible for private lots and waterfront areas.
Mr. Stajich was an aeronautical engineer for Fairchild Industries and was chief engineer when St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport was built.
In addition to his business and political career, Mr. Stajich was editor of the Gulfport Gabber for South Pasadena and was active in civic organizations and in volunteer entertainment. He often donated his time to perform piano concerts for civic organizations and apartment complex groups.
"I have always been asked to play," Mr. Stajich once said. "And whoever asked me, I have been glad to do it." After coming here from New York, he gave concerts for several organizations, including a show for the Majestic Tower Apartments. In 1984, he played 11 original classical-style pieces at South Pasadena City Hall.
Mr. Stajich started playing the piano when he was 8 years old and began composing music in 1959 while working as a chief engineer for an aircraft company.
"I felt a sudden compulsion to write music," he said. "I had never composed before this time, but it came to me so naturally it surprised me."
In New York, he studied music with Julius Chajes, an experience he said was his "first opportunity to work with a renowned professional."
At one time he performed radio concerts of his compositions, and at least one of those compositions, Desert Prayer, was published.
A native of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Mr. Stajich held aeronautical and mechanical engineering degrees from Belgrade University.
He long dreamed of coming to America. At 12 he was going to sell his wristwatch to pay for his ticket until his mother found out.
In 1939 he moved to New York to represent Yugoslavia in the New York World's Fair. He graduated from College of Aeronautics in Flushing, N.Y., and he moved to the bay area in 1963.
Among his several awards for community service were the Distinguished Community Service award from the Boca Ciega Kiwanis Club for his ideas on safe street-crossing, crime prevention seminars for shopping center merchants and his help with community projects such as the Kiwanis Health Fair. He received a Pinellas County proclamation in recognition of his contributions to public safety, among other things, and a certification in value engineering from Honeywell Industries.
He was past president of the Shorecrest Building Association and a member of the South Pasadena Civic Association and the South Pasadena Golden Age Club. He spent more than 7,000 hours in volunteer service at Palms of Pasadena Hospital.
Active in his church, the Lutheran Church of the Holy Comforter, Treasure Island, he served as its guest preacher, as Sunday school superintendent and as a member of the Church Council.
He also was a member of the Masonic Lodge F&AM in Hagerstown, Md.
Besides his wife, survivors include two sons, Jeffrey M., Durham, N.C., and Dr. Gregory V., Atlanta, and four grandchildren.
David C. Gross Funeral Homes, Central Avenue Chapel, St. Petersburg, will announce when a memorial service will be held.
_ Some of the information in this obituary came from a story by Linda Gradstein in the St. Petersburg Times.