Gaetano F. Molinari, 76, a George Washington University neurology professor who spent 15 years as department chairman, died Dec. 14 at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville. He had cancer.

His son Guy N. Molinari confirmed the death.

Dr. Molinari was head of stroke research at the National Institutes of Health from 1972 to 1975. He subsequently joined the GWU faculty and served as neurology department chairman from 1976 to 1991.

He retired from the university in 1993 and spent eight years as medical director of the Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care, based in Easton, Md. He remained a medical consultant to the foundation.

Gaetano Francis Molinari was a native of Passaic, N.J., and a 1957 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. He was a 1961 graduate of what is now the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He received a master’s degree in public health from GWU in 1995.

He completed his neurological residency at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and served in the Air Force from 1966 to 1968 as head of neurology at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George’s County.

He was a Chevy Chase resident and a member of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kensington.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Alice Murphy “Lita” Molinari of Chevy Chase; five children, Guy N. Molinari of Upper Saddle River, N.J., Navy Capt. Francis M. Molinari of Jacksonville, Fla., Christopher E. Molinari of Los Angeles, Navy Capt. Gregory H. Molinari of the U.S. Embassy in Madrid and Cara A. Molinari of Bethesda; two brothers; and 12 grandchildren.

— Adam Bernstein