1948 High School Class Ring, found with a Metal Detector, in Maine, returned to family, after 3/4 of a Century

  • from Old Orchard Beach (Maine, United States)

Back in 2013, I found a 1948 SJHS High School Class Ring, while Metal Detecting, in the ocean, in Old Orchard Beach Maine.

I knew of a St Joseph’s High School (SJHS), in Biddeford, Maine, which closed, back in the 1960’s. I wanted to return the ring, but trips to local libraries and an email to an Alumni Association for St Louis and St Joseph’s High School, all came up empty. Online searches also yielded no clues. I soon found out there were hundreds of SJHS high schools across New England, Mid Atlantic States, Canada and the rest of the U.S.. Old Orchard Beach is a summer resort town in Maine with 100’s of thousands of tourists from all over, every year and the ring was approximately 65 years old, when I found it. . How would I ever find and verify, which school, the ring came from? Could the SJHS be a St Joseph’s, St John’s, St James, etc..? After researching, on and off for 1 1/2 years or so, with no results, I put the ring into my safe and forgot about it .

Fast forward to February 9th, 2024. I found another class ring, while metal detecting, in Old Orchard Beach, after some recent winter storms. This was a 1982 Billerica Memorial High School class ring, from Billerica, Massachusetts. I knew that this should be an easy find and return ring, but that’s another story, for another day. But, finding the 1982 Billerica ring, jogged my memory of the 1948 ring, in the safe. I thought I would give it another go and see if there was anything new online, to help identify the school, from which the ring came.

I posted the ring on many Facebook Pages, including Class Rings – Lost and Found and St Louis High School Biddeford Maine. The Class Ring Facebook Page has an incredible research team that without hesitation, started to help me locate the correct school. The research team, includes employees of Josten’s, the rings manufacturer. Josten’s found the 1948 blueprint for the ring, in approximately 1 week. The ring was absolutely from St Joseph’s High School, Biddeford, Maine. The now closed school is approximately 6 miles, from where I found the ring, in the ocean.

While Josten’s was researching the ring, Chuck, the administrator for The St Louis Facebook Page, forwarded me a newspaper photo of the 1948 St Joseph’s Graduating Class, of 19 women. The initials RGH, engraved on the inside of the ring, matched one young woman and I just knew it had to be hers. Her name is Rita and

I performed an online search, but unfortunately, I found Rita’s obituary, from 2021, just 3 years prior. I was able to contact one of her children, Mary Ann, mentioned in the obituary and she lives only 3 miles from me. Mary Ann answered all my questions about her mother, and they matched exactly, with all the facts I had. Her mother had graduated in 1948, from St Joseph’s High School, in Biddeford, Maine. Her mother’s middle name, starts with a G and ended with a H, just like the ring. Mary Ann told me she was very surprised and excited and couldn’t wait to call her other siblings. Mary Ann told me she would call me back and set up a time, where I could return her mother’s ring and some of her siblings, could also be there. When she called back, we made Saturday, March 9th the date to return the ring.

I met 4 of Rita’s 7 children, at their mother’s and their childhood home. Mary Ann, Joan, Kevin and Michael were there to greet me and were very excited and happy to see their mother’s high school ring, which none of them had ever seen, before today. After all, the ring has been miss for approximately 3/4 of a century.The siblings related the story that their mother had lost her ring, in her late teens or early 20’s, most likely between 1948 and 1952. Their mother had told them about losing her ring, way back then and wasn’t even sure where she had lost it.

It is such a privilege to be able to reunite such a precious piece of someone’s life, to their family. There is no better feeling, than returning rings like Rita’s, to family members that will cherish it forever. Although Rita is no longer here, with them, the siblings all felt her there today.


4 Replies to “1948 High School Class Ring, found with a Metal Detector, in Maine, returned to family, after 3/4 of a Century”

  1. Marc Gilbert says:

    Thank you Dennis. I had heard about my mother losing her ring years ago when I ordered mine while attending TA. Although I didn’t make the “ring returning party”, it was great to see what the ring actually looked like. Thank you again!

    1. Dennis Boothby says:

      Mark, You’re more than welcome. It was such a pleasure to be able to meet your siblings and return your mother’s ring. Sitting in your mother’s home, with her children was such an emotional moment for me. I absolutely love helping reunite people with their lost items. ❤️🙏

  2. Mark says:

    Finds we live for. Well done!

    1. Dennis Boothby says:

      Mark, Thank you. There is no better feeling, than to be able to help people, by returning their items. ❤️🙏

Comments are closed.