Howard Schambach, 86, chairman and former president of Bimco Corp., Winston-Salem, NC, died Aug. 1 at Forsyth Medical Center. He entered the PHCP industry in 1947 when he joined Crane Co. as a warehouseman; he quickly moved into inside sales and then the plumbing department, where he was named manager in 1950. In 1959 he moved to Chattanooga, TN, as manager of contract sales for Crane's enamelware division. Later that year he moved to Chicago as manager of plumbing and heating wholesale sales for Crane.

From 1960 to 1964 he served as manager of plumbing products for Crane's PHAC group in Johnstown, PA. In 1964 he left Crane to join Atlas Supply Co. in Winston-Salem as general manager/plumbing sales. He served as vice president at Atlas from 1967 to 1973.

He began working for Bimco Corp. in September 1973 and with his business partner, Allan May, purchased the company in 1974. At the time Bimco was operating at a loss, but Schambach and May turned the business around within a year. Schambach served as president, treasurer and sales manager, while May was vice president, secretary and credit manager.

Schambach was a strong supporter of both the Southern Wholesalers Association and the American Supply Association. He served on several SWA committees and was an SWA director when he and May purchased Bimco. He served as SWA president in 1979-1980. In an interview with Supply House Times published in April 1979, Schambach said, "My philosophy is to work with people who work with you - customers, employees and suppliers." He stressed the importance of personal relationships and responsible management.

A veteran of the U.S. Army, Schambach served in the 90th Infantry Division, Recon Troop, 106th Cavalry, during World War II and was awarded both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He is survived by his children, Marla Sparks and husband Bill; Gary Schambach (current president of Bimco Corp.) and wife Susan; the Rev. Sonna Schambach; six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Compassionate Heart International, P.O. Box 309, Clemmons, NC 27012.