G. Donald Meid, 68, a retired business manager of the National Academy of Sciences, died of heart failure and cancer Tuesday at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.

He had retired in 1971 after serving under a four academy presidents.

When Mr. Meid joined the academy in 1942, he managed the business and financial affairs of an organization that had an annual budget of $1.5 million and a staff of 250. During his tenure the budget grew to $34 million annually and the staff eventually numbered 1,000.

Much of this growth came about as the federal government began to depend more and more on the academy and the committees of its National Research Council to study technical questions involving major policy issues. The academy was chartered as a private organization by Congress in 1963.

Born in Laurel, Ind., Mr. Meid was a graduate of Butler University and earned a master's degree in accountancy from the University of Illinois. He was a certified public accountant.

From 1932 until 1942, he was assistant chief accountant at Purdue University.

Mr. Meid was a an adult leader in the Boy Scouts. He had held a number of positions with the Chevy Chase Methodist Church. Later he was on the board of trustees of All Souls' Unitarian Church in Washington and then was active in Cedar Lane Unitarian Church in Bethesda.

He is survived by his wife, Irene Lowe Meid, of the home in Chevy Chase; a son, John L., of Albany, N.Y.; a daughter, Elizabeth S., of Arlington, and a sister, Ruth Compton, of Carmel, Ind.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy maybe in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association or the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad.