Felix Gilbert, 85, a prominent historian who wrote on European and American history and won the prestigious Bancroft Prize in 1962, died Feb. 14 at his home in Princeton, N.J. He had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

He won the Bancroft for his book "To the Farewell Address: Ideas of Early American Foreign Policy." His other books included "Machiavelli and Guicciardini: Politics and History in 16th-Century Florence" (1965), "The End of the European Era" (1970), "The Pope, His Banker and Venice" (1980) and "Reflections on Ranke and Burckhardt" (1990).

Dr. Gilbert, a native of Germany, received a doctorate in history from the University of Berlin in 1931. He came to this country after the Nazis came to power. During World War II, he was a research analyst with the Office of Strategic Services. He had taught at Bryn Mawr College from 1946 to 1962, and then was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton until retiring in 1975.


Joffrey Ballet Dancer

Burton Taylor, 47, a former leading dancer with the Joffrey Ballet who had been a contributing editor of Dance magazine from 1979 to 1983, died Feb. 13 at his home in White Plains, N.Y. He had AIDS.

Known for his speed, lightness and strong acting ability, he danced roles such as Captain Belaye in John Cranko's "Pineapple Poll" and Arthur Saint-Leon in Robert Joffrey's "Pas des Deesses."

Mr. Taylor made his professional debut with the Eglevsky Ballet in 1959. He joined the American Ballet Theater in 1962 and the Joffrey in 1969, dancing with the company through 1978.


Trade Group Official

Robert J. Galup, 69, a past president of the Maryland-D.C. Home Furnishings Representatives Association, died of cancer Feb. 12 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Mr. Galup, a former Springfield resident, had lived in the Washington area from 1961 to 1972. He had been a furniture industry manufacturers' representative for 36 years.


Plant Geneticist

Ernie Sears, 80, an award-winning plant geneticist at the University of Missouri for 55 years before retiring as professor emeritus, died Feb. 15 at his home in Columbia, Mo. The cause of death was not reported.

He shared the 1986 Wolf Foundation Prize and its $100,000 stipend with Ralph Riley, of Cambridge, England.

Dr. Sears was credited with transferring genetic material from wild grasses into cultivated wheat, enabling the breeding of strains of wheat resistant to diseases and insects. His first transfer created a strain resistant to wheat rust, which was estimated to save U.S. agriculture $30 million a year.


Novelist and Professor

Arturo Islas, 52, a Mexican American novelist and Stanford University English professor, died Feb. 15 at his home on the university campus in California. He had AIDS.

He published "The Rain God" in 1984 and "Migrant Souls" in 1990. Both centered on the family of Miguel Angel, who grows up in a Texas town. In his semi-autobiographical books, Mr. Islas, who was born in El Paso, looks at Angel's dual cultural heritage.

Mr. Islas, who was a 1960 Stanford graduate, began teaching at the school in 1967 and gained tenure in 1976. He taught seminars on autobiography and Hispanic American novelists, and lectured on Hemingway, Fitzgerald, American and Chicano literature. He also specialized in the works of Proust and James.


Eddie Bauer Chairman

William F. Niemi, 86, a former board chairman of the Eddie Bauer outdoor apparel stores, died Feb. 9 in Seattle. The cause of death was not reported.

He met Bauer in the 1940s and frequently hunted and fished with him. In 1947, they launched Eddie Bauer as a manufacturing and mail-order business. As the business grew, a retail operation was added.

In 1968, Mr. Niemi and his son bought out the Bauer family. He sold the company in 1971 to General Mills Inc. and retired.


Joffrey Director

Richard Englund, 59, a director of the second company of the Joffrey Ballet and a leader in the American regional ballet movement, died of cancer Feb. 15 at his home in New York City.

Mr. Englund, who was born in Seattle, attended Harvard University and the Julliard School and studied in New York with dance figures such as Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. He also performed with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and American Ballet Theater.

He directed the Birmingham (Ala.) Ballet, before returning to New York in 1967 and founding the Dance Repertory Company, which has since been renamed the Ballet Repertory Company. He was appointed director of the Joffrey II Dancers in 1985.


Sculptor and Artist

Arno Breker, 90, a sculptor and portrait artist whose reputation was tainted by his work for the Nazis, died Feb. 15 in Du sseldorf, Germany. He had the flu.

After early experiments with abstraction, he turned to portraiture in the 1920s while living in Paris. He settled in Berlin in 1932. In 1938, he became a professor at the Academy of Art in Berlin. He received commissions from the Nazis to beautify the capital of the Third Reich and worked closely with architect and high Nazi official Albert Speer.


Indianapolis Mayor

Alex M. Clark, 74, who at age 34 became the youngest mayor of Indianapolis, died Feb. 14 in Argentina after suffering a head injury while returning from a cruise.

Mr. Clark, a Republican, was elected the city's 39th mayor in 1951. He served just one term because state law then prohibited Indianapolis mayors from serving consecutive terms. He later ran in 1967, losing the primary to Richard G. Lugar, who won the general election and is now Indiana's senior U.S. senator.