OCALA, Fla. (AP) — It took more than 20 years, but an Ocala woman has finally found the owner of a 1973 gold class ring she found while taking a walk near her office.
Rose Crowe remembers seeing the glint of an object in the grass outside a credit union near the Marion County School District office where she worked as a data programmer back in 1987.
"I picked it up and knew it was someone's class ring," she said. "I took it home and tried to find information about Houston High School — I misread the name — and then put it in a drawer."
In 1987, Crowe told the Ocala Star-Banner, it wasn't as easy as it is now to track people down because "we had no personal computers."
The ring stayed in the drawer until June, when she found it while doing "some major revamping" in her home.
Upon close inspection, she realized the ring was from South Houston High School.
"There are several high schools with that name nationwide," she said. "I started to eliminate them by searching for what appeared to be a Trojan or Spartan-type mascot engraved on the ring.
"I found bears and big cats and then eventually the Trojan profile for the correct school in Texas," she said. "Usually schools don't change mascots."
Once she had the right school, Crowe started trying to find out who the ring belonged to. The initials G.L.O. were engraved into the band. She found the owner — Glenda Lee Orr.
On the school's website, she found a requiem for Orr. It mentioned the name of her husband, Dr. Ken Hansen, an optometrist in Ocala.
Crowe said she went to the white pages and found a phone number for Hansen. She called and said, "I believe I have your wife's ring."
Hansen, 58, says he was shocked. But he recalled his wife having told him she had lost something "personal and important."
Orr died in 2010 at age 55 of ovarian cancer. The family moved to Ocala from Houston in 1985.
"We have two daughters and a son," Hansen said. "They were ecstatic about the ring being found and returned."
Daughter Terri Corsi, who lives in South Carolina, told the Star-Banner she was in disbelief that someone returned the ring.
"I felt it was a sign from my mother she is still with us. It was her way of reaching out to us," she said.