Richard B. Ray, 72, a Georgia Democrat who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 1993, died May 29 in a hospital in Macon, Ga., after surgery for a heart ailment. He maintained homes in Alexandria and Byron, Ga.

From 1972 to 1982, he was administrative assistant to Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) in Washington.

During his years in Congress, Mr. Ray served on the Armed Services Committee, where he oversaw the interests of his home state and proclaimed the beliefs of the conservative wing of his party. He opposed abortion and homosexuals serving in the military, and he favored both a balanced-budget amendment to the constitution and a decrease in capital gains taxes.

He introduced legislation that placed President Jimmy Carter's home and school in Plains, Ga., on the National Historic Register.

Mr. Ray was defeated for reelection in 1992 by a margin of 55 to 45 by Republican Mac Collins. Mr. Ray was put at a disadvantage through redistricting and a strong Republican campaign.

Since 1993, he had done consulting work for various defense-related industries.

Richard Belmont Ray was born in Fort Valley, Crawford County, Ga., and attended the University of Georgia. He served in the Navy aboard a destroyer during World War II.

From 1946 to 1950, he farmed. He then operated a pest-control business unti 1972. He served on the city council of Perry, Ga., and then as its mayor from 1964 to 1970. He had been president of the Georgia Municipal Association in 1969.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara Giles Ray of Byron and Alexandria; three children, Barbara Susan Ray of Cambridge, Mass., Charles Richard Ray of Alexandria and Alan Thomas Ray of Kathleen, Ga.; two brothers; a sister; and three grandchildren.