John C. Becher, 54, a retired Air Force master sergeant who later worked as an assistant in the public affairs office at the Pentagon, died March 23 as a result of injuries suffered in a traffic accident.

Prince George's County police said Mr. Becker's automobile was struck head-on at the crest of a hill on Brandywine Road in Clinton by another vehicle that was attempting to pass a third car. Mr. Becher was pronounced dead at Southern Maryland Hospital Center and his wife, Edna Mae Becher, was hospitalized.

A resident of Clinton, Mr. Becher had lived in the Washington area since 1962 and was active in several organizations in the Clinton area. He was a former president of the Crestview Citizens Association, the Clinton Citizens Association, the Council of Organizations of the Greater Clinton Area, the Congress of Southern Prince George's County Civic Associations and the Suitland Citizens Association.

He also was a member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and St. John's Catholic Church in Clinton.

He was born in Gallitzen, Pa. and served 20 years in the Air Force before retiring from active duty in 1968. At the time of his death he was an executive assistant to the director of management in the office of the assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs.

In addition to his wife, of Clinton, survivors include three sons, John, of Lancaster, Pa., Alfred, of Waldorf, and Paul, of Clinton; a daughter, Deborah McGowan of Bowie; his mother, Agnes Becher of Gallitzen; three brothers, Robert and Francis, both of Gallitzen, and Edward, of Tremont, Pa.; two sisters, Mary Catherine Reed of Gallitzen and Elizabeth Solarz of Warren, Ohio; and one grandchild.