NEW YORK — Donald B. Smiley, retired chairman and chief executive officer of R.H. Macy & Co. and a 35-year veteran of the retail chain, died Sunday at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut.

Smiley died of a stroke. He was 78 and lived in Greenwich.

He joined Macy’s in 1945, after serving in the U.S. Naval Reserve, and rose to executive vice president and treasurer, then vice chairman, becoming chairman in 1968. He added the post of ceo three years later and retired in July 1980.

Smiley was also a director of Metropolitan Life Insurance, National Broadcasting Co., Ralston Purina, RCA Corp., and U.S. Steel Corp. He was a trustee of Corporate Property Investors, an advisory director of Irving Bank Corp. and a trustee of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.