Alan Baumbaugh

July 7th

Alan Edward Baumbaugh was born Dec. 4, 1950 in Fort Wayne, IN to William E. and Vella Mae (Smith) Baumbaugh, both now deceased. He was also preceded in death by his only brother Barry Baumbaugh. The family moved to Syracuse, IN in the 1960’s where they built one of the first year-round homes on Lake Wawasee. Alan graduated from Wawasee High School, got a BS in Physics from Indiana Tech, and a PhD from the University of Notre Dame. He immediately hired on at Fermi National Accelerator Lab outside Chicago where he split protons using an underground super-conducting super-collider and did related research for 37 years, retiring as a Senior Engineering Physicist. In 1985, working in collaboration with researchers at the University of Notre Dame including his brother Barry, he developed a high-speed Video Data Acquisition System based on fiber optic arrays for analyzing the quarks that split out from protons. In early 1986, the team traveled to Australia to study Halley’s comet, recording more than 90 million high-speed images of the comet’s flight using the VDAS. They received two patents and an IR-100 Award. Alan also helped design equipment at the CERN supercollider in Switzerland.

Alan was a Star Trek fan who always had a dog named Spock. (His last was Spock V.) As a golfer, he had a handicap of 6 using a 6-foot custom driver, made annual sorties to St. Andrews but was most at home at Maxwelton on Lake Wawasee owned by his friends Bob and Rena Carlson. He was an avid dirt biker in his early years and commuted to Fermi Lab on a street motorcycle until his retirement at 67. He came from a family of fishermen and typically got the biggest catch.

For a number of years, Alan participated in a Christmas donation program in Cromwell. Every year, he contacted the trustee to find a family who had come upon hard times and would donate to the family a whole pantry full of groceries, including a turkey and trimmings, plus a treeful of age-appropriate toys and clothes in the kids’ sizes. In his final years Alan made numerous donations to his church, New Salem United Methodist in Granger, IN and endowed a science scholarship at his alma mater Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne.

Alan was diagnosed with ALS in 2015, which put him on life support two years later. Even though he eventually could not speak or move anything but his eyebrows, he communicated with his eyes using a computer with software that let him type sentences to speak, email, text, peruse the internet, place orders, and control his Direct TV. After his brother Barry passed away from a sudden heart attack, he was cared for by his sister-in-law Kelly Havens and his nephews Tad, Brandyn, Travis and Randy Baumbaugh. In his last year, when his care was truly 24/7, he was able to set up his own home health care facility with live-in nurse’s aides Allen Joseph Edwards and Matthew Stump. Assisted by retired RN Jennipher Forte, this team became a second family for Alan, and he was deeply grateful for their devotion. When asked by a hospital chaplain days before his death what mattered most in life, he said “Family” (which he made clear in notes on his computer, included his team). Alan had been given 2-5 years when diagnosed 7 years ago. It is a tribute to his ingenuity and determination that in this, too, he exceeded expectations.  Visitation will be Sunday, July 17, 2022 from 2-4 PM at the Eastlund Funeral Home.  Services will begin at 4.  Interment will be held on Monday, July 18, 2022 at 12 Noon at Covington Memorial Gardens in Fort Wayne.  Memorial contributions may be made to New Salem United Methodist Church in Granger, IN, or I Am ALS (

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