Graduating from high school may be an important milestone for any teenager, an official welcome to adulthood. For years, graduates have been commemorating the occasion with class rings.
Upper Sandusky resident Terry Boucher had in his possession three class rings that were found on a Harpster area golf course, one back in 1962.
“My grandfather (Milt Boucher) was the golf pro at Hickory Grove Golf Course and somebody found them on the golf course and turned them in,” Boucher said. “The rings ended up in the lost and found through the years. It was 1962 and there was no Internet and no way of figuring out who they belonged to. They just wrote in a book, ‘Class rings lost.’”
Boucher’s grandparents eventually took the rings to their home for safe-keeping. The 41-year-old Boucher came across the rings again after his grandmother Doris Boucher’s death in November.
“My mom asked me what I thought we should do with them and I said, ‘Let’s figure out who they belong to,’” Boucher said.
And 50 years after the first ring was lost, Boucher began his search to find the owners of the three class rings. Armed with only the graduation years, names of the schools and initials of the owners, all of which are inscribed on the rings, Boucher called Upper Sandusky Mayor Scott Washburn for help.
“I thought (a mayor) could get in touch with anybody,” Boucher said.
“I have known Terry nearly my whole life,” Washburn, 39, said. “I knew his grandma and grandpa Boucher and they were just great people. I was happy to help him fulfill his grandmother’s wishes of returning the rings to their owners.”
One ring belonged to a 1972 graduate of Marion’s Elgin High School and her initials were inscribed on the ring. Washburn advised Boucher to call the school.
“We talked to the assistant principal at Elgin High School and he went back and they have boards with names of (graduates) on them and there’s only one with those initials that graduated that year and it was a woman’s ring,” Boucher said. “We found her immediately.”
The ring’s owner does not want to be identified.
“I talked to her on the phone and she said, ‘Thank you very much,’” Boucher said. “She was very happy, but said she just doesn’t want the publicity. She didn’t even remember how she lost it.”
Boucher mailed the ring to the woman, who currently lives in Green Camp.
The oldest of the three rings belongs to a member of the Clayton High School class of 1956.
“This one wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be (to find the owner),” Boucher said. “When we started looking, there were no Clayton High schools in Ohio. There were 17 nationwide and we didn’t know how we were going to figure out which Clayton High School this ring was from.”
This time, Boucher and Washburn turned to the Internet search engine Google. Along with the initials “GH,” the ring also had a ship inscribed on its side. Only one of the 17 schools was associated with a ship — The Clayton High School Clippers in Clinton, N.J.
Washburn called the Clinton mayor, who is friends with Clayton High School teacher Jeff Field, who also is a graduate of the school.
“I got in touch with Terry Boucher and he told me he had a class ring and it was from 1956,” Field said. “That was the year my mother-in-law graduated (from the same school) and my wife has her yearbook. We looked and there was only one person that graduated that year and had those initials.”
Fifty years after the ring was found in Wyandot County, GH finally had a name — Georgianna Harris.
Field contacted one of Harris’ classmates, who put him in touch with Harris herself.
“She was very excited,” Field said, recalling the initial phone conversation with Harris. “She knew my mother-in-law. It was really nice for my wife, because she got to meet someone that knew her mother, who died 20 years ago.”
Field was passing through Ohio on a family vacation to Michigan earlier this month, when he stopped in Upper Sandusky to retrieve the ring and return it to Harris.
“(Harris’) boyfriend lost the ring in 1958 when he was driving a truck out this way,” Boucher said. “The funny thing is that it wasn’t found at Hickory Grove until 1962. … If he would have lost it in 1958, (the golf course area) would have been farm ground back then.”
“I remember seeing that ring as a child and I would put it on and it was huge,” he added. “I remember thinking it was like a Super Bowl ring. It was cool to be able to return it to her.”
Harris was Georgianna’s maiden named. Now married, Georgianna Corona is happy to have her ring back.
“I never thought I would ever see it again,” said Corona, who lives in Port Norris, N.J. “(Seeing the ring again) brought back a lot of memories of things I hadn’t thought about for a long time, friends and schoolmates. I always wondered over the years where it might have gone. … I’m grateful for everybody that put their time and effort into (returning the ring).”
Search for ‘DD’
The third ring belongs to a 1977 graduate of Ridgedale High School in Morral. Ironically, Washburn’s uncle Steve graduated from RHS that same year.
“My uncle has worked in the Marion area forever and I knew he knew a lot of people there and went to school there,” Washburn said. “I couldn’t believe it when it turned out to be one of his classmates.”
Inscribed with the initials “DD,” Boucher believes the ring belongs to a Debbie Dewees.
“(Steve Washburn) went home and looked at a yearbook and there was only one DD in there that year, Debbie Dewees,” Boucher said.
“Small high schools like Ridgedale and Elgin, everybody knew everybody,” he added. “I hope someone remembers her.”
Boucher still is searching for the ring’s owner.
Anyone with contact information for Debbie Dewees or her family may call The Daily Chief-Union at 419-294-2331, ext. 28
By CHANDA NEELY