Donald R. Goldthrop, 67, retired information officer for the National Institutes of Health, died Friday at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Before his retirement in 1973, Mr. Goldthrop served in the special projects branch of the NIH Director's Office of Program Planning and Evaluation. Prior to that, he was information officer of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and had also served as director of public information in the NIH Office of Research Information.

Born in Biwabik, Minn., Mr. Goldthrop received a A degree from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 1939. He later studied communications at American University and worked briefly as a newspaper reporter and radio staff writer.

Before going to NIH, Mr. Goldthrop also served with the U.S. Army Aerial Photographic Intelligence section interpreting aerial photographs as well as the American Red Cross in Washington where he worked as a writer and editor.

Following his retirement in 1973, Mr. Goldthrop traveled to Europe and continued his lifelong interest in music, science and politics. He attributed his unusually long survival to nursing care received in his home.

Mr. Goldthrop is survived by his wife Mildred, and four children, Frederick, Laurie, Jeffrey and Christopher; his brother Howard Goldthrop of Washington, and a sister, Grace Dahn of California.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Society of America, 12011 San Vincente Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90049 or to the Cedar Lane Unitarian Church, 9601 Cedar Lane, Bethesda, Md. 20014. A service will be held at the church Monday at 1:30 p.m.