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James McClellan, Maryland state delegate for 16 years, dies

Former state delegate James “Doc” McClellan, 90, died Saturday at a Frederick-area retirement community.
Former state delegate James “Doc” McClellan, 90, died Saturday at a Frederick-area retirement community.

James E. "Doc" McClellan, a Frederick veterinarian who served 16 years in the Maryland House of Delegates, died Saturday at Buckingham's Choice Retirement Community in Adamstown. He was 90.

A daughter, Terry McArthur of Frederick, said her father died in his sleep and that the cause of death had not been established.

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Born in Frederick, he was the son of Dr. J. Bernard McClellan, also a veterinarian, and his wife, Edna Davis.

He was a graduate of Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va. His studies at Georgetown University were interrupted by his service in the Army during World War II.

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He fought in an infantry unit in France, Belgium and Germany. He was awarded three battle stars.

After the war, he married Betty Jane Marendt, who had been a student with him at Parkway Elementary School in Frederick.

He earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland, College Park and a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Georgia in 1955.

A veterinarian for small and large animals, he initially practiced with his father at a West Patrick Street office in Frederick.

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In 1973, he was elected to the Frederick City Board of Aldermen. He was elected to the House of Delegates in 1978, representing Frederick and Washington counties. He chaired the Frederick County and Western Maryland delegations. He retired in 1994.

"He was a most beloved member of the House of Delegates," said former House Speaker Casper R. Taylor of Cumberland. "He was outgoing and had a fabulous personality. He worked well with everybody."

Dr. McClellan worked with Frederick Mayor Ronald Young to obtain state funds for projects including the Tivoli Theater-Weinberg Center for the Arts, the Delaplaine Center, the Frederick Community College library and a $60 million Carroll Creek flood control project and linear park.

After Dr. McClellan retired from the House, Gov. Parris N. Glendening named him to the Frederick County Liquor Board, where he served until 2012.

Dr. McClellan was named the 1979 Maryland Veterinarian of the Year by the Maryland State Veterinary Medical Association, of which he had been president.

A visitation will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday at Keeney & Basford Funeral Home, 106 E. Church St., Frederick.

In addition to his daughter and wife of 70 years, survivors include two sons, James R. McClellan of Frederick and J. Bernard McClellan of Baltimore; three other daughters, Gail Snyder of Williamsburg, Va., Barbara Stanley of Frederick and Debby McClellan of Beaufort, S.C.; 10 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

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