Michael D. Spear, 49, the president of The Rouse Co., the developer of the planned community of Columbia, and many other highly praised real estate projects, was killed yesterday when the private plane he was piloting crashed near Logan Airport in Boston.

Killed in the crash also were Mr. Spear's wife, Judy, 47, and a daughter, Jodi Spear, 19.

The plane, a twin-engine Piper Cheyenne turboprop, hit a driveway between two houses in the Mattapan section of Boston about 6:30 a.m. The houses were destroyed by fire, but their occupants escaped unharmed.

The flight originated in Chatham on Cape Cod, where the Spears had a summer residence. A family friend said Jodi Spear was to fly from Boston to Tokyo for a year of study.

Officials of the Federal Aviation Administration said Mr. Spear radioed that he had engine trouble when he was about 20 miles from Logan. About seven miles from the airport he began efforts to land. The plane disappeared from radar at 6:30. Visibility was said to be a quarter of a mile.

The FAA said the accident was under investigation.

In Columbia, where The Rouse Co. is headquartered and where the Spears lived, James W. Rouse, the founder of the company, issued the following statement:

"This is a terrible loss to The Rouse Co. and to the country. Mike Spear was a brilliant, compassionate, wise man. His leadership was tremendous. In many respects, he is irreplaceable. Judy was a wonderful woman who made a great contribution in her own right, as well as to Mike's work."

The Rouse Co. is one of the country's leading real estate companies. It develops, owns and manages shopping centers and mixed-use retail and residential properties. It is best known for its efforts to revitalize inner-city neighborhoods by creating what it calls "specialty marketplaces."

In addition to the planned community of Columbia, its major projects include Harborplace in Baltimore, The Shops at National Place in Washington, the South Street Seaport in New York City, St. Louis Union Station in St. Louis, Military Circle in Norfolk, and River Walk in New Orleans.

Mr. Spear, who spent his whole professional life with Rouse, was born in New York City. He grew up in the Washington area and graduated from Wheaton High School. He received a bachelor's degree in architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and then went to the Harvard University School of Design, where he received a master's degree.

He began his career with The Rouse Co. in 1967. Four years later he was put in charge of the Columbia project, which had been started in the mid-1960s. In 1978, he was named executive vice president. In 1986, he was chosen by Mathias J. DeVito, the chairman and chief executive officer, to be president. His duties included overall responsibility for project development, administration, personnel, budget and staffing operations.

Survivors of Michael and Judy Spear include three daughters, Lisa, Lara and Jeni Spear, all of Columbia. Michael Spear also is survived by his mother, Beatrice Spear of Tamarac, Fla.; a brother, Peter Spear of Madison, Wis.; and a sister, Nina Salvatore of Hauppauge, N.Y.


FBI Official

Charles W. Steinmetz, 50, a retired press official of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who was a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War, died of cardiac arrest Aug. 21 at George Washington University Hospital.

Dr. Steinmetz joined the FBI in 1969, and had worked as a special agent and instructor, and held several supervisory posts. He had served with the bureau in Pine Bluff, Ark., Madison, Wis., and Los Angeles.

After coming here in the mid-1970s, he taught at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Va., where he also had been chief of the FBI's National Academy Program. For about two years before retiring in March, he was chief of the media service unit at FBI headquarters. The unit supervises the press offices of the FBI's field offices.

Since retiring from the FBI, he had been security director for the Oliver Carr Co.

Dr. Steinmetz, who lived in Bethesda, was born in New York City. From 1961 to 1969, he served in the Army, attaining the rank of captain. In 1966 and 1967, he served with the Special Forces in Vietnam. His decorations included the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart.

He was a graduate of the University of South Florida. He received a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California, a master's degree in the administration of justice from California Lutheran College, and a doctorate in education from the University of Virginia. He also was a graduate of the FBI National Executive Institute.

Survivors include his wife, Gail, and a daughter, Cindy, both of Bethesda; his mother, Helen Brooks, and a sister, Jean Evans, both of Florida.


Public Roads Official

William Greenleaf Eliot 3d, 92, a retired traffic signs and signals specialist with the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, died of pneumonia Aug. 23 at the Fernwood House nursing home in Bethesda. He lived in Washington.

Mr. Eliot began his career with the bureau in Washington during the mid-1920s. Over the years, he worked on traffic sign designs, edited the bureau's "The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices" and served as a representative at transportation conferences in Europe, Mexico and Panama.

He retired in 1965 and worked as a consultant at the International Road Federation until 1971.

Mr. Eliot was born in Milwaukee and grew up in Portland, Ore. He graduated from Reed College in Portland and received a master's degree in economics from Harvard University. After teaching economics at Wesleyan University, he came to Washington in 1924 to study at the Brookings Institution. He had been there about two years when he joined the Bureau of Public Roads.

He was a former board chairman of All Souls' Church Unitarian in Washington. He was a member of the Road Gang, a highways and traffic organization, and the Highway Research Board, a professional organization.

His first wife, Alice Cushman Eliot, died in 1962.

Survivors include his wife, Margery Howarth Eliot of Washington; two children from his first marriage, Nancy Eliot Mack of Ridgewood, N.J., and Frank Cushman Eliot of Bethesda; a sister, Ruth Eliot Johnson of Portland; and five grandchildren.


FAA Official

Thomas Joseph O'Malley, 56, a retired investigator with the Federal Aviation Administration's accident investigation branch, died of cancer Aug. 22 at his home in Mitchellville.

Mr. O'Malley began his FAA career in 1957 as an air traffic controller at LaGuardia International Airport in New York. He first came to the Washington area in 1962 as an air traffic control supervisor at Dulles International Airport.

In 1969, he transferred back to LaGuardia as a supervisor. In 1972, he returned to this area as a procedure specialist at Air Traffic Control headquarters. From 1975 to 1977, he was deputy chief of the Air Traffic Control Tower at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut, and from 1977 to 1978, he was chief of the Air Traffic Control Tower at Burlington, Vt.

He transferred to Washington a third time in 1978 as an air traffic control evaluation specialist. He joined the accident investigation branch in 1986 and retired in 1989. Since that time he had worked as a air traffic control consultant.

Mr. O'Malley was a native of New York City. He served in the Air Force from 1953 to 1957. He was a member of Holy Family Catholic Church in Mitchellville, the American Legion and the Elks.

Survivors include his wife, Susanne O'Malley of Mitchellville; two children, Michael Patrick O'Malley of Mitchellville and Kathleen Susanne O'Malley of Bethesda, and his mother, Mary O'Malley, and a brother, Luke O'Malley, both of Edgewater, N.J.


Government Fisheries Specialist

J. Adger Smyth, 80, a retired government foreign fisheries specialist, died of respiratory failure Aug. 24 at a nursing home in Tallahassee, Fla. He lived in Tallahassee.

Mr. Smith moved here and began his government career in 1934 with the Commerce Department's Bureau of Fisheries. He spent much of his career overseas, with tours in Latin America, Asia and Africa before retiring from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1969.

In the late 1930s, he served as technical director of a mixed commission that stocked South America's Lake Titicaca with trout. He served in Liberia from 1952 to 1954. He was a fisheries adviser in Bangkok with a project run by the University of Hawaii. His last post was in Washington, as a foreign fisheries specialist.

Mr. Smith, a former Great Falls resident, lived in the Washington area from 1934 to 1970. For the next five years, he was a research assistant in marine science at the University of South Florida.

He was a native of Blacksburg, Va. A graduate of Hampden-Sydney College, he received a master's degree in ornithology and entomology from Cornell University. He was an Army veteran of World War II.

He had been active in area little theaters and had acted in the Theater Lobby in Washington.

Survivors include his wife, the former Laura Judd, of Arlington; a daughter, Jeannette Smyth of Washington; a brother, Ellison, of Blacksburg; and a sister, Grace A. Smyth of Salem, Va.


Church Member

Carolyn J. Wisherd, 91, a member of the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church and a former library assistant with the National Geographic Society, died of cardiovascular collapse Aug. 22 at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Mrs. Wisherd, a resident of Washington, was born in Waterford, Va. She moved to Washington about 1920. She was a library assistant at the National Geographic from then until about 1929.

Her first husband, Marcus C. Hopkins, died in 1936. Her second husband, Edwin L. Wisherd, died in 1970. She leaves no immediate survivors.