Sherrod E. East, 89, the chief archivist of World War II documents who retired in 1966 as assistant archivist of the United States for military archives, died Dec. 26 at home in Boyds. He had Alzheimer's disease.

Mr. East also was a retired colonel in the Army Reserve.

He was born in Lowndes County, Miss., and graduated from the University of Denver, after also having studied at George Washington University. He came to Washington in 1933 as an aide to Rep. Lawrence Lewis (D-Colo.), and he also worked at the Library of Congress. He did graduate study in archives administration at American University.

He began his career with the National Archives in 1937, then during the war was assigned to the War Department.

After the war, he remained with the Army Department as chief of the archival unit responsible for top-level records of the War Department.

Not until 1958 were these records sufficiently processed to be transferred to the National Archives for permanent preservation and public use. At that time, Mr. East, his staff and 200,000 cubic feet of military records were transferred to the National Archives, from which Mr. East retired.

In 1967, he accepted a one-year appointment as official historian of the Maryland Constitutional Convention. In 1971, he was posted to Okinawa to close out records of the 27-year administration of the Ryukyu Islands before their return to Japanese control.

While working as a military archivist, Mr. East served 20 years in the Army Reserve. He earned a Legion of Merit and retired as a colonel.

With his wife and daughter, his was among the first families to move into the new town of Greenbelt in 1937. Later he served on the Greenbelt Town Council and was first vice president of the Greenbelt cooperative. He participated in negotiations for the sale of the town to its residents.

He later lived in Arlington. He was a former trustee of the Unitarian Church of Arlington.

Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Dorothy Loverne Parsons East of Boyds; four children, Marian Rubach of Bowie, Kathleen Walker of Boyds, Ellen Dionna Hover of Corinth, Vt., and William Parham East of Great Cacapon, W.Va.; 12 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.