Stephen Comer | Teacher and coach, 69

Stephen Comer, 69, of Lansdale, a retired teacher and basketball coach, died Thursday at Bryn Mawr Hospital of acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Mr. Comer graduated in 1955 from Springfield High School, Montgomery County, where he was a standout on the basketball team. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and later earned a master's degree in education from Temple University while teaching.

After service in the Army, he taught at Upper Moreland High School for two years. He then taught English and journalism at Wissahickon High School for 37 years. For many years he was an adviser to the student newspaper and from 1966 to 1984 was head coach of the boys' basketball team.

He coached the team to seven Bux-Mont League titles, his son David said. A highlight of his career, his son said, was in 1972 when Wissahickon upset Chester High School at the Palestra to win the Class A District 1 championship.

In 1985 Mr. Comer coached women's basketball at Montgomery County Community College and then was an assistant coach at Cheltenham and Abington High Schools and at North Penn High School, where his son played from 1990 to 1993.

"His students and players loved him," his wife, Joan Patrick Comer, said, "and he loved them back."

To supplement his teacher's salary, he taught summer school and SAT courses, sold cable television door to door, and cleaned oxygen tanks.

After retiring from Wissahickon in 1999, he continued to assist the basketball coach at Abington High School, and worked as a substitute teacher and as a gas station attendant.

Mr. Comer was passionate about sports; collected Lionel model trains; enjoyed spending time with his family and vacations at the Jersey Shore and in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

In addition to his wife of 38 years and son. Mr. Comer is survived by his daughters, Lisa and Lynn, and two grandchildren.

A funeral service will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Goldstein's Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks Memorial Chapel, 310 Second Street Pike, Southampton. Burial will be in King David Memorial Park, Bensalem. Shiva will be observed at the residence.