YURI OVCHINNIKOV

Soviet Biologist

Yuri Ovchinnikov, 53, a leading biologist and vice president of the Soviet Union's prestigious Academy of Sciences who was an alternate member of the Communist Party's Central Committee and a member of the Presidium of the Russian Republic's Supreme Soviet, died Feb. 17.

Tass, the official Soviet news agency, did not report the cause or place of his death.

He led research into the creation of gene-engineering interferons, insulin, and other medical preparations. He was chairman of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

RENE CHAR

French Poet

Rene Char, 80, called "the greatest French poet of the 20th century" by Premier Jacques Chirac, died Feb. 19 at a military hospital in Paris. The cause of death was not reported.

Among Char's most famous poems are "Hammer Without a Master," written in 1934, and "Return Uphill," written in 1966. "Hammer Without a Master" was later set to music by Pierre Boulez. Mr. Char also wrote criticism and plays for nearly half a century. MARTHA WINSTON ALSOP WARTHEN

Colonial Dames President

Martha Winston Alsop Warthen, 86, national president of the Society of Colonial Dames from 1968 to 1972, and president of the Society of Colonial Dames in the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1960 to 1965, died Feb. 18 at her home in Richmond of complications arising from a fall three weeks earlier.

Mrs. Warthen also was an honorary trustee and a former director of the Confederate Memorial Literary Society. She was the society's president in 1967 and 1968.