Class ring found in sewer, returned to owner after 54 years

Class ring found in sewer, returned to owner after 54 years
Published: Nov. 30, 2015 at 10:24 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2015 at 10:48 PM CST
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POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - A class ring is back where it belongs after more than 50 years.

The long lost ring was found thanks to two Poplar Bluff city workers who went the extra mile to bring a smile to one man's face.

"It still fits. It's a little loose but it fits," Bobby Rice said.

Rice said he won't be taking off the ring any time soon.

"The year is down here…1961," Rice said as he admired the ring.

Fifty-four years ago, Rice handed off his 10 karat gold class ring.

"I was home from basic training, getting ready to go to Germany. I gave it to a young girl and I left for Germany. I was in Germany for three years and that's the last time I seen the ring and the girl," Rice said.

The Air Force veteran didn't think he'd see it again.

"We could tell it was a class ring when we picked it up," Poplar Bluff utility worker Wade Stoner said.

Stoner and his fellow-worker Marlin Barker were cleaning a sewer line on the east side of town when they found it.

"It was not a pretty ring," Stoner said.

Now, the ring is shiny and smooth, but when they found it, it was packed with years of grit and grime. Still, the men had to make sure Mr. Rice's ring was returned.

"Found the year on top of the ring. Saw it was a Poplar Bluff ring. I called my wife and had her contact the school to look in the yearbook and it was only two possibilities of who it could be," Stoner said.

Steve Whitworth, at Whitworth's Gift Chest Jewelers, said restoring it was quite a feat.

"It had years of corrosion on it," Whitworth said.

In the end, it cleaned up well.

"Whenever it's gold, it can almost always be restored. And it was in good, sound shape underneath all the stuff," Whitworth said.

"When I looked at the ring, I remembered the days I was playing football," Rice said.

Memories from long ago etched in precious metal, made new again by two guys who really didn't have to do what they did.

"People care about each other. Those guys could have come in and sold the gold for scrap. But they wanted to find who the owner was," Whitworth said.

This is the second class ring Stoner and Barker have found and returned. The other one was found about five years ago and dated 1977.

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