When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 Dick Ray was attending The University of Washington in Seattle. He left Seattle to attend the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut graduating from The Academy as an Ensign.
After a tour in The South Pacific during the war he sailed as commanding officer on his LCI to the port of New Orleans where his ship was decommissioned at the end of the war.
Three years later in 1949 back in Kansas City, his home town, Dick started his own plumbing business and a family with his new bride Shirley.
He could not afford a truck & started his business using the family Chevy to run service calls, pulling an equipment trailer behind it. Dick had no helpers and did all of the labor himself. Shirley answered the phone in the home in Merriam and raised their three children. Shirley frequently took the service calls and conveyed the work orders to Dick.