Press Releases & News
In Memoriam: Former MPO President Ivan Lebamoff
On May 19, 2006, former MPO National President Ivan Lebamoff passed away at the age of 73. Credited by most with saving the MPO though his visionary leadership, Mr. Lebamoff's legacy is manifest in the MPO's vitality and in those Macedonian-Americans and Macedonian-Canadians that Mr. Lebamoff brought back into the MPO's family.
Under Mr. Lebamoff's leadership, the MPO re-activated chapters, increased membership, implemented educational programs for Macedonian youth, moved the MPO's national headquarters to Fort Wayne, purchased the Macedonian Tribune Building in Fort Wayne, modernized the Macedonian Tribune and the MPO's operations, and reached out to other Macedonian organizations in North America to work for the recognition of and support the Republic of Macedonia.
The MPO's resurgence under Mr. Lebamoff's leadership came as no surprise given his work as an attorney and public servant.
Mr. Lebamoff was born to Macedonian immigrants in Fort Wayne, graduated from Indiana University in 1954 and from the Indiana University School of Law in 1957. He founded Lebamoff Law Offices in 1957, where he practiced with his sons Jordan and Justin Lebamoff.
Mr. Lebamoff was elected mayor of Fort Wayne in 1971, defeating a two -term incumbent. At the time of his election, he was Allen County Democratic Party Chairman.
Mr. Lebamoff's mayoral campaign utilized campaign techniques that are now taken for granted, including professionally produced television ads and the recruitment of a large volunteer force of young dedicated campaign staffers. He was an active mayor who took city government to neighborhood associations and is credited with sparking the redevelopment of Fort Wayne's downtown business district. Mr. Lebamoff also established the Fort Wayne's Women's Bureau and returned to public service in 1984 as chairman of the city’s parks board.
Mr Lebamoff's colleagues remembered him as a mayor with a passion for downtown redevelopment and as a politician ahead of his time who did not mince words.
The people of the Fort Wayne and the MPO were all extremely fortunate to have Ivan serve as our leader. He has left a lasting imprint on both the city and organization that served so well and secured the prosperity and future that each enjoys and looks forward to today.