Donald T. Chalkley, 85, director of civil rights for the National Institutes of Health in the 1970s, died of pneumonia May 30 at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville.
Dr. Chalkley, a Kensington resident, held the NIH job when the institute and its parent agency, the old Department of Health, Education and Welfare, was coming under scrutiny for its use of human research subjects, including prison inmates.
He signed the 1972 comprehensive regulations that governed research procedures, but he acknowledged to investigative journalist Jessica Mitford that HEW did not closely track or oversee its funded research. In a January 1973 article in the Atlantic Monthly, Mitford showed him a form that prisoners were required to sign to waive their rights to claims if they were injured in research.
"Oh, damn," Dr. Chalkley replied. "I was aware of this form two years ago -- I thought they said they were going to quit using it. I don't know. Give us hell; I guess we deserve it."
He retired as chief of institutional relations in the division of research grants in 1978. Before he worked at NIH, he was a biology professor at the University of Notre Dame from 1950 to 1956.
A native of Lake Charles, La., Dr. Chalkley grew up in Baltimore and Bethesda and graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.
He graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio and enlisted in the Navy during World War II, serving stateside.
After the war, he completed a master's degree at Amherst College in Massachusetts and in 1950 received a doctoral degree in biology from Princeton University.
After retirement, Dr. Chalkley dabbled in real estate. He was a volunteer docent at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology for several years in the early 1990s.
He was a lifelong railroading enthusiast, having hopped rides as a teenager on the trains that ran on old Georgetown spur tracks. Later, he collected model trains and railroad books. He also enjoyed selling items at the Rockville flea market that he purchased at yard sales and swap meets.
His marriage to Louise Stevenson Chalkley ended in divorce in 1965. His second wife, Virginia Chalkley, and a daughter from his first marriage, Carol Chalkley Johnson, died this year.
Survivors include five children from his first marriage, Susan Chalkley of Hereford, Md., Judith Chalkley of Middle River, Md., David Chalkley of Manassas and Thomas Chalkley and Mark Chalkley, both of Baltimore; two stepchildren, Allan Woodard of Metairie, La., and Linda Woodard of Potomac; and a brother, David W. Chalkley of Damascus.