James Wilson Schwab, 44, the sales manager of the B&B catering company and a member of the St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Silver Spring, was killed early Tuesday in a fire at his home in the Aspen Hill section of Silver Spring.

Montgomery County fire officials said the blaze was caused by a stove that had been left lighted.

Mr. Schwab's wife, Priscilla Anne Schwab, and the couple's two children, Meredith Anne and Patrick Henry, were hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation and other injuries.

Mr. Schwab was born in Patton, Pa. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University, where he was a member of the varsity football and track teams. He also took a master's degree in counseling at Penn State. He served in the Navy from 1962 to 1966 and then was director of student activities at Rockland Community College in New York and Rockford Community College in Illinois.

He moved to the Washington area in 1970 and took a master's degree in physical therapy at the University of Maryland. He also was a salesman for the Army Times Publishing Co. In 1976 he went to work for Ridgewell's, a catering firm in Washington, and remained there as an account executive until last month, when he joined B&B as sales manager.

Mr. Schwab was a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Indian Spring Country Club and the Lettermen Club of Penn State.

In addition to his wife and children, all of Silver Spring, survivors include his mother, Marion H. Schwab of Sarasota, Fla.; two sisters, Marshall Garrett of Bethel Park, Pa., and Anne Elizabeth Schwab of Washington, and two brothers, Frank J. Schwab Jr. of Pine Grove Mills, Pa., and William H. Schwab of Norwalk, Conn.