George Austin Rylance, 62, an officer of the old U.S. Information Agency who served in Latin America, Europe, and Philippines before retiring in 1979, died Monday in a hospital in Fernandina Beach, Fla., after a heart attack.

He had moved from McLean to Columbia, S.C., in November 1981, and was vacationing in Florida when he was stricken.

Mr. Rylance joined the USIA in 1956 as a cultural affairs officer in Caracas, Venezuela, and became deputy public affairs officer in Buenos Aires in 1962. From 1965 to 1968, he was in Washington as assistant director of the agency's Latin American division.

During the 1970s he was a public affairs officer in Mexico City and Madrid. After leaving the government, he became a partner in the Worldwide Export Information Corp. in Washington.

Mr. Rylance was a native of Arizona and was a high school teacher and administrator there before joining the USIA. He was a graduate of Arizona State Teachers Collge and earned a master's degree at the University of Arizona. He served with the Army Air Forces in Europe during World War II and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Survivors include his wife of 34 years, Betty, of Columbia, S.C.; four daughters, Mary, of Washington, Hollis, of Long Beach, Calif., Constance, of Berkeley, Calif., and Teresa, of McLean, and a brother, John, of Bisbee, Ariz.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Heart Association.