Col. Maximiano “Max” Romualdez Janairo Jr., a man of deep faith and honor, died early Thursday, September 27, 2018, after a long illness surrounded by family at home in Mount Lebanon, Pa. He was 85 years old.
A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Janairo served in Korea and Vietnam before becoming the district engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Pittsburgh from 1975 to 1978, when he retired from the military. As district engineer, Janairo oversaw the U.S. Army’s response to the 1977 Johnstown Flood and took responsibility for the delayed opening of the new Brady Street Bridge, which earned him accolades in the media for being a rare, honest public servant.
Janairo was born in Manila, Philippines, to the late Amelia Romualdez Janairo and Col. Maximiano Saqui Janairo. The elder Janairo was a 1930 graduate of West Point who survived the Bataan Death March, escaped from the prisoner of war camp, and hid out with his family in the provincial village of his birth. At that time, the elder Janairo enlisted Max Jr., then 11, to take notes to friends in neighboring villages. Only after the war, did Max Jr. learn that he had been carrying hand-drawn maps of Japanese-occupied military facilities to guerrilla fighters.