Ray Beckman served in the US Navy in World War II. As an electrician aboard the Comfort, and American hospital ship, Beckman survived a Japanese kamikaze attack on the ship. After the war, he followed his father as a member of the St. Louis Fire Department. Beckman had played soccer since his youth and starred in the semi-pro leagues around St. Louis, later qualifying to play as a center-forward at the 1948 Olympics. Beckman retired from firefighting after 18 years and several injuries and became the soccer coach of the Burroughs High School in St. Louis, a position he would hold until 2002. The Burroughs High School soccer field is dedicated in his honor and the school holds an annual Ray Beckman Invitational game. He was inducted into the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame in 1980 and was honored in 2000 as the Jimmy Dunn Coach of the Year in St. Louis.