Lt. Col. Clarence McComas, 78, Air Guard member

Lt. Col. Clarence B. "Mac" McComas Jr. , a retired member of the Maryland Air National Guard, died Tuesday of heart failure at his home in Littleton, Colo.

He was 78.


Lt. Col. McComas was born in Baltimore in 1922. He graduated from Polytechnic Institute in 1940.

Soon after graduation, he joined the Army Air Forces and served as a fighter pilot during World War II. Though he never saw combat, family members said he traveled all over the world and discovered a love for flying.


After the war, Lt. Col. McComas joined the Maryland Air National Guard and earned a degree in aerospace engineering from the Johns Hopkins University.

His degree helped pave the way for a long career at Martin Marietta Corp., which became Lockheed Martin, where he worked as an engineer for 36 years.

Martin Marietta transferred Lt. Col. McComas to Denver in 1972, prompting his retirement from the Air National Guard after more than 20 years.

He married Therese Haberlander of Towson in 1954. She died in 1993.

Lt. Col. McComas also enjoyed gardening and model trains.

"He had a layout that took up I don't know how much of the basement," said daughter Jeanne Fuson of Littleton, about her father's collection of train sets.

Three years ago, he started a train organization called the Rocky Mountain Rails, of which he was co-president.

"He was fun-loving, kind and laid-back," said son Stephen McComas of Tampa, Fla. "He was more than a father; he was a friend."


A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. today at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Littleton.

In addition to his son and daughter, Lt. Col. McComas is survived by three other sons, Michael McComas, Mark McComas and John McComas, all of Denver; two sisters, Anne Vach of Baltimore, and Doris Costill of Vineland, N.J.; a stepmother, Jane Catherine McComas; and eight grandchildren.