Class ring returned to its owner after 47 years

ESCANABA – A 47-year mystery has been solved. But for Jim Crawford, the recent return of his 1966 class ring from Holy Name High School has opened up another question: who had it?

Warren Schauer, of the Michigan State Extension Office, was working on a rental property he owns a short distance from the Crawford Funeral Home in Escanaba about two years ago. He was in the garage when he found the ring on a wooden shelf that had been erected between two pieces of lumber along one of the walls in the garage.

“I saw that the ring was from Holy Name School, so I called and talked to someone and told them what I had found and asked if they would like to see it,” Schauer said. “They said they would but I just set it aside. But I always intended to take it to Holy Name but it seemed I was always working during the day. Once I actually took it over there when I was in the neighborhood, but the school was closed for spring break so I missed it again.”

When Schauer finally took the ring to Holy Name about two weeks ago, some very curious staff members noticed the initials inside that read “JDC.”

“I saw the ring was from 1966 but when I looked inside, I failed to see the initials,” Schauer said.

The staff got to work and retrieved the 1966 yearbook and found the only graduate with the initials JDC was James Crawford of Crawford Funeral Homes. When they called him and asked about the ring, he confirmed that he had lost the ring many years ago. A short time later, Schauer met with Crawford at Holy Name and the ring was returned to its rightful owner.

“The funny thing is that I gave it to a girl when we started going steady and I don’t have the slightest idea anymore who she was,” Crawford said. “After I got married, I asked my wife if I ever gave her my class ring and she said “no” so I knew it wasn’t her,” he added with a laugh.

He explained that seniors frequently gave their girlfriends their class ring to wear as a sign of going steady. Because a boy’s fingers are larger than a girl’s, the girlfriend would wrap string or yarn around the ring so it would fit without falling off.

“When I got it back, it still had the yarn on it,” Crawford said. “It’s some kind of green mohair yarn. But if you look at the ring and the yarn, you’d never think it’s been gone for 47 years.”

Crawford said he was “very excited” to have the ring returned to him.

“I thought it was long gone and never thought I would ever see it again,” he said. “And then 47 years later, it pops up!”

Even though the ring is still in almost pristine condition, Crawford said he intends to take it to a jeweler to have it cleaned.

“But I’m not going to give it to anyone again,” he said with a chuckle. “Not even my wife!” He is, however, uncertain whether he will wear the ring or store it somewhere for safe keeping.

Does the ring still fit?

He responded, “On my pinkie finger.”