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Return of the Ring

Against all odds, a lost BYU class ring from 1971 finds its way home after nearly half a century.

On a hot summer day nearly 50 years ago, Eric Paul (BS ’71) lost his BYU class ring during a game of golf after having had it for only seven days. The ring was later found on the Park City golf course and stored in the cash register awaiting the return of its owner, but the season passed, and the ring remained unclaimed.
Ralph, the course’s golf professional, emptied the cash register when autumn arrived and took the contents back to his home where he showed the ring to his wife before tucking it away in a small box with other novelties he’d found over the years.

Soon after Ralph’s death in 2016, his wife, Annette, came across the box while packing up his belongings. Upon seeing it again, she recalled its story and gave it to her niece to see if she and her husband, Jeff (BS ’96), could track down its original owner. But after almost 50 years, it was nothing if not a long shot.

And so, the sleuthing began. The owner’s initials were engraved on the inside of the ring along with the Jostens company logo, so Jeff contacted the BYU Alumni Office, told them the story, and with their help, started the hunt. They joined forces with Jostens and carefully sifted through old records until they finally identified the mystery grad: Eric Paul from Mesa, Arizona.

After a good half-century, they had found the “Lord of the Ring.” Jeff took the ring to Rasmussen & Company Fine Jewelers to return it to its former glory after a lengthy stay in Ralph’s basement. The ring was professionally cleaned, polished, and placed in a special ring box to keep it safe on its journey back home. In his letter to Eric, Jeff says, “I am grateful to Annette Emery, Jostens, the BYU Alumni Office, Rasmussen & Company, and everyone else who helped reunite you with your BYU 1971 class ring. I hope you can wear it after all these years and that each time you look at it, you feel that sweet BYU Cougar Spirit!”

A happy ending if ever there was one, Eric said, “I can’t tell you how elated I was to receive word that my ring had been found and, even better, that it was coming my way after 50 years! … I’m reminded of two of my favorite quotes: ‘For friends at first are friends again at last,’ and... ‘My Precious.’”