James Edward McComas, president of the H.C. McComas Fuel Co. and a self-taught musician, died Sunday of cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care. The Monkton resident was 51.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Mr. McComas was a 1976 graduate of Loyola High School. He attended Loyola College and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he studied biology.

Mr. McComas went to work more than 30 years ago for the family-owned fuel business that was established in 1871.

"He worked tirelessly to ensure the family business would prosper. As a hand-on-leader, from the field to the boardroom, he was well-respected by his peers, employees and members of the oil industry," said a daughter, Melanie Joanne McComas of Belmont, Mass.

Mr. McComas had served on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Distributor's Association.

In the early 1980s, Mr. McComas coached a winning youth football team, as well as recreational, travel and AAU basketball.

Mr. McComas also enjoyed playing guitar and piano.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. today at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Baltimore and Ware avenues, Towson.

Also surviving are his wife of 31 years, the former Emmalee Joanne Cella; two sons, Wayne P. McComas of Manchester and Joshua J. McComas of Monkton; two other daughters, Melissa K. McComas and Melinda J. McComas, both of Monkton; his father, Edward McComas of Timonium; two brothers, William A. McComas of Timonium and Robert J. McComas of Ashburn, Va.; and three grandchildren.

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