Billy F. Rankin, 59, a director of development for opthalmic products with Burton-Parsons and Co. here, died Jan. 7 at Georgetown University Hospital of cardiac arrest.

Mr. Rankin was born in West Virginia and grew up there. He joined the Navy during World War II and served in the South Pacific.

Mr. Rankin came to Washington in 1946 and entered George Washington University, where he graduated in 1950. He then became a pharmacist with Peoples Drug Stores. In the early 1950s, he joined the Air Force and was stationed at both Bolling and Andrews Air Force Bases.

With the Burton-Parsons Co. since 1960, he was a director of product development there, specializing in ophthalmic products and eye care solutions. He was elected to the Patents Hall of Fame in 1977 for his work in the development of contact lens products.

He was a member of the American Association for Research in Vision and Opthalmology and the National Eye Research Foundation.

Mr. Rankin was a former deacon of the Georgia Avenue Baptist Church in Wheaton. He had lived in Rockville for the past 30 years.

Survivors include his wife, Lucille M. of Rockville; three daughters, Barbara Harmon of Kenna, W. Va., Sharon Johnson of Westminster, Md., and Linda Kuhn of Farmville, Va; a son, William Fleming of Middletown, Md., and 11 grandchildren.