Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Monday

June 24, 2013

Ring lost 44 years ago back on rightful finger

MANCELONA — An emerald green class ring lost 44 years ago made its way to its rightful and incredibly grateful owner in an improbable reunion.

“It’s amazing this could happen after 44 years,” said Nelson Hoogerhyde of Alba. “It was crazy. You couldn’t make up this kind of stuff.”

Hoogerhyde, 75, found the ring in the fall of 1969 when he was washing his GTO hot rod at a self-serve car wash off Garfield Avenue in Traverse City. He returned it on May 12 to Stephen “Mike” Willsey of Lake Ann at an emotional meeting at a Mancelona diner.

Willsey said he quickly realized he lost the ring, but by the time he returned to the car wash, it was already gone. He thinks Hoogerhyde must have found it within an hour after he dropped it.

Willsey was particularly heartbroken because he knew the sacrifice his family made to buy the $150 ring, a small fortune back then. He helped pay for a good share of the ring by working 50-cent-an-hour jobs, but knew better than to ask his family to chip in for a replacement.

Hoogerhyde said he noticed a glint in a drain grate in the floor, and found the ring bundled up in gum wrappers. He kept the ring inside a box of Muncie transmission synchro rings, which luckily contained a preservative to keep the synchro rings from rusting. It also kept the class ring in perfect condition.

Hoogerhyde eventually bought a 1968 Chevelle convertible and forgot to take the rings out of the glove box. Fortunately, the new owner of the GTO returned the synchro ring box back to Hoogerhyde. Years later, Hoogerhyde put the class ring in a box of his Vietnam military metals and dog tags.

Every year around graduation time, Hoogerhyde thought about the owner of the class ring, and periodically placed ads in the Record-Eagle. Once he tried contacting Traverse City Central High School, but with no luck.

Text Only

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Facebook Is Officially A Mobile Company 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Swiftair Loses Contact With Air Algerie Aircraft Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid