Samuel H. Tolbert, 63, a retired Air Force colonel who specialized in technical intelligence and who later worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency, died of cancer Wednesday at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center.

Col. Tolbert, who was born in Maysville, Ga., enlisted in the Army in 1937. In 1942, he was commissioned in the old Army Air Corps and spent the rest of World War II as a technical intelligence officer in the South Pacific.

After the war, he was transferred to Washington and continued his career in his particular intelligence field. When the Air Force was established as a separate service in 1947, he remained in it. Subsequent assignments included Germany, Washington again from 1952 to 1959, and London, where he was a liaison officer with the British Air Ministry. He retired from Hunter Air Force Base in Savannah, Ga., in 1963.

Col. Tolbert and his family had maintained a home in Barnesville, Md., since his marriage in 1946 to the former Elizabeth Hays, who is now the mayor of Barnesville. In 1964, the Tolberts moved there and Colonel Tolbert began his work with the Defense Intelligene Agency. He retired there in 1976.

In addition to his wife, of Barnesville, survivors include one daughter, Eleanor, of San Francisco; three sons, Frederick, Richard and John, all of Barnesville; and two sisters, Nell Mosley and Billie Eason, and one brother, Charles, all of Jacksonville, Fla.