December 5, 1895 - July 21, 1918
Max Straub was the only surviving child of Alba Moyer and John Arthur Straub, and grew up in Herndon along the Susquehanna River, where his father sold dry goods, shoes, sporting goods, and general merchandise. Max entered the Bloomsburg State Normal School in March of 1911, where he was a roommate of fellow Herndon native Gabriel Adams, who sadly became another student remembered in the Memorial Pinery. Straub took classes until January, 1915, when he enrolled in a business course at the Lancaster Business College, after which he helped his father out in the family general store.
At the beginning of June, 1917 Straub enlisted as a private in the Bucknell Ambulance Unit at Allentown, and after several months of training was sent to France. His letters home related the many thrilling experiences he had while crossing the Atlantic and at the battle front. He was involved in action several times, but on July 15, 1918 he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. The French were pulling a heavy cannon up to the front lines with a tractor, which happened to break down as it passed the post where Straub was stationed. While a machinist was trying to locate the trouble a German plane flew over, and the pilot on seeing the cannon dropped a bomb. It landed 40 feet from Straub and a French soldier, exploding and wounding them both. A second bomb killed the machinist and three other soldiers, while wounding five. Straub was hit by nine pieces of shrapnel, including one that punctured his stomach. Even though he was severely injured, he said that the others should be attended to first, before he was taken to a hospital.
Max Straub was operated on, but the injuries were too severe, and he died in Fleury-Sur-Aire one week later on the night of the 21st. He was conscious until the end, and five minutes before he died he asked for his mother and father. He was buried in France as a private first class with military honors. For his devotion to duty he was given a Citation for Bravery, and the French awarded him the Medaille Militaire and the Croix de Guerre with palm. The war crosses pinned to the flag over his coffin were sent to his parents. Their grief at his loss was deep and profound, for as John Straub wrote to the normal school registrar Francis Jenkins on August 26, 1918:
"I am sure we are proud to hear that you are interested in our Dear, Dear Son Maxwell, who gave his all for his country. He died a hero. But Oh! it is so hard to lose your only boy. We just think it can't be that our Dearest One in this world will never return to his Dear Parents."
Yet another family would never be the same, and a brave young man who only sought to do his duty and serve his country gave his life for it. A memorial tablet was placed in the Herndon Cemetery overlooking the Susquehanna River, and his parents would end up being buried alongside it. His parents never forgot him, and Mrs. Straub was a proud member of the Gold Star Mothers of the Philadelphia Chapter of American War Mothers. In her will she wanted Max's medals and citations from the United States and France to go to his namesake, Maxwell Straub Gregg, the son of Flint M. Gregg of Brownsville in Fayette County. The sacrifice of Maxwell Straub had meant so much that a child was named in his honor.
Back to Bronze Tablet map