Thomas M. Valega, a chemist and former grants administrator at the National Institutes of Health, died Jan. 28 at his home in Warren, Minn. He was 76.

He had complications related to hypertension, according to his wife, Heidi Hughes.

Dr. Valega began working at the Agriculture Department’s Research Center in Beltsville in 1967 but spent most of his career at NIH, including stints in the artificial kidney program and the dental research program. He retired in 1990.

Thomas Michael Valega was born in Linden, N.J. He graduated in 1959 from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., where he received a doctorate in chemistry in 1965.

He was a volunteer nature-tour leader with the Smithsonian Resident Associates, specializing in birds, owls and bats.

A former resident of Olney and Rockville, he moved to Minnesota in 1999.

His marriage to Mary Orr ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 24 years, Heidi Hughes of Warren; four children from his first marriage, Margaret Valega of Poolesville, Md., Thomas M. Valega Jr. of Houston, Vinson P. Valega of New York City and Catherine Valega of Winchester, Mass.; and eight grandchildren.

— Bart Barnes