Raymond Ruskin Beard, 81, a retired metallurgist who had been an official of the old Atomic Energy Commission here, died Monday at the Washington Hospital Center. He had cancer.

Mr. Beard was chief of the procurement branch in the division of raw materials at AEC, a position he held for four years before retiring in 1968. m

He joined the AEC as a geologist in 1954 while he was in Lima, Peru. He then was attached to the American Embassy in Lima. In 1960, he was transferred to Buenos Aires, Argentina, as a scientific representative in the AEC's division of international affairs. He was an assistant attache at the American Embassy in Buenos Aires until coming to AEC offices here in 1964.

Mr. Beard was born in Citronelle, Ala., and grew up in Mobile. He attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute and graduated from the University of Arizona, where he also earned a master's degree in metallurgy.

He worked in Arizona and Mexico with an interlude in Bolivia before moving permanently to Bolivia in 1933, where he was associated with a number of major mining companies, including Patino and Hochschild, which were among the major tin producers nationalized in 1952. He had been in charge of several gold mines in Peru in 1947-49,

Mr. Beard joined the U.S. government at the beginning of 1953, when he became deputy regional director of the Defense Materials Procurement Agency of the General Services Administration in Lima, Peru.

He had been honored in World War II by this country's Office of Inter-American Affairs for his service as a member of the Coordination Committee for Bolivia.

Mr. Beard was a member of the American Institute of Mining Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers.

He is survived by his wife, the former Guenn Muriel Houck, of the home in Rockville; a son, Raymond R. Jr., of Mesa, Ariz.; two brothers, Melvin H., of Gonzales, Tex., and Lowery W. of Fort Worth, Tex.; a sister, Mrs. Tom Owens, of Oklahoma City, four grandchildren and one great-grandchildren.

The family suggest that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Visiting Nurse Association in Rockville.