O. Thaxter Smith, 90, who ran his own shorthand reporting business in Washington for almost 60 years, died Wednesday at the Wisconsin Avenue Nursing Home following a heart attack.

Mr. Smith was born in Bluffdale, Texas, and came to Washington from Fort Worth in 1912 to work for the government and go to school at night. He worked for the Post Office, the Treasury and the old Bureau of Internal Renevue while attending the Emeron Institute, where he earned a high school diploma. He also attended George Washington University.

Having learned shorthand, he worked for stenographic firms for about a year before opening his own office in 1918. Much of his work was for the Congress and he remained personally active in it until 1960. He then entered semiretirement, but continued his business until 1976.

Mr. Smith, who resided in Sumner, Md., was active in the Masons and was a member of the Brightwood Masonic Lodge, where four of his sons became members and lodge masters, and of the Almas Temple. He was a member of the Congressional Country Club and played golf there until about two years ago.

Following the death of a son, Burton, a first lieutenant in the Air Force, in a flying accident in 1954, Mr. Smith took up flying. He made several cross-country flights by himself and with various of his surviving sons.

Mr. Smith also was a member of the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, where he served on the Board of Stewards. He had been a member of the church's A. B. Pugh Bible Class.

Survivors include three daughters, Dorothy O. McManus, of Silver Spring, J. Maxine Smith, of Hyattsville, and Janic Wallace, of Burtonsville; four sons, Wilbur T., of Fairfax, Perry B., of Daytona Beach, Fla., Talma R., of Harper's Ferry, W. Va., and David L., of Silver Spring; a brother, Talma L., of Alexandria; 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.