Who We Are

Ray Family

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.1015009502

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.

Even in those early days they offered 24 hour service. The telephone rang beside Dick’s bed & he answered the phone all night long as customers called needing emergency overtime help.

In 1952, Dick bought his first service truck, a used Ford pickup, and continued to do all of the service work himself with the occasional help of a neighbor. In 1955 he rented a frame building measuring 400 square feet in Prairie Village at the southeast corner of 75th & Nall. Now for the first time he was able to store larger quantities of material & tools like cribbing planks & jacks away from his home. First shop small

The Ray’s first born child was a boy, Dick Ray II and he was a very serious minded, very mechanical young man. He grew up in the plumbing business helping his father, cleaning our trucks on Saturday, restocking parts, sweeping, digging ditches & straightening the tools in each of the trucks. By the time he was 16, he knew as much about the plumbing business as many mature plumbers. Between jobs Dick II earned an Eagle Scout badge.

In 1966 Dick II was the winner of a $4,000 scholarship to study mechanical engineering at Kansas State University. This scholarship was awarded annually to one son of a plumber in The United States. Dick used the scholarship to put himself through school, working summers to earn any money not covered by the scholarship. In 1972, he graduated cum laude in Mechanical Engineering from K-State. After that Dick completed all of the coursework for a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering lacking only a thesis to obtain his Master’s Degree.

In 1973 after a 6 month 11,000 mile motorcycle trip starting in London, England & ending in Tehran, Iran Dick II got a job on a freighter in the Persian Gulf & worked his way home to Kansas City to join his father in the family business full time

Dick and Dick II

In 1974 Dick II passed the demanding master plumbers examination making him licensed in both Kansas & Missouri. Then he passed another grueling set of examinations which similarly licensed him as a master mechanic to do furnace & air conditioning work. At that point Dick I stepped down as general manager as his son stepped in. The father & son worked well together until the elder Ray retired in 1986. The father & son team always agreed that their genuine goal should be to continue to be, “The Best That Money Can Buy.”

The family that came to Kansas City from England and helped lay Kansas City’s first sewer 6 generations ago is still going strong, doing a conscientious job of plumbing, heating & air conditioning.

Why Choose Us

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