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Saga of lost ring ends happily

February 20, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

BIG POOL

andrews@herald-mail.com

More than 25 years after Mark Clark last wore his high school ring, it fits more snugly than it used to.

But what's more remarkable is that he has it again.

Clark, 49, lost his ring in the late 1970s at Fort Frederick State Park in Big Pool. He was there as a Civil War re-enactor, a member of the 1st Virginia Regiment.

Although Clark didn't think he would get his ring again, he barely remembers losing it. Decades later, it had become a faded memory, eclipsed by more momentous milestones.

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Last July, someone found a ring at the state park and turned it in to Park Manager Ralph Young.

The ring was worn, but the name of the school was legible - John Yeates High School in Suffolk, Va.

Sherian Hose, an administrative specialist at the park, said Young tried to reach someone at the high school, but it had become a middle school.

His search for the owner, or someone who could reach the owner, stopped after a few weeks.

Around the middle of January, Hose, who lives in the Bedington area of Berkeley County, W.Va., offered to resume the search.

She looked up a Suffolk newspaper, the News-Herald, and posted an inquiry on the paper's Web site: "Found a 1974 men's class ring on our grounds Has red stone - John Yeates HIGH SCHOOL Initials are either JSW or MDC it is hard to see. Please ask around Thanks."

She included her phone number.

Hose said News-Herald reporter Allison T. Williams saw the message and called her to find out more.

Williams then called Linda Glasscock Bunch, a friend who went to John Yeates High School.

Bingo.

Clark said Bunch knew it was his ring because they dated in high school. She wore his ring then.

Mystery solved.

The next step was finding Clark, who lives in Roanoke, Va. (He lived in Fairfax, Va., at the time he lost his ring.)

Williams said she tracked down Clark's father - a Methodist minister who was her pastor - and got Clark's phone number.

Clark said the message on his answering machine about three weeks ago was odd. It was something like, "Hi, this is Allison from Suffolk. Someone in Maryland might have your ring."

Hose said she was surprised when Clark called her at work to claim the ring.

"It's a very cool thing," she said.

Hose sent Clark the ring by registered mail. He received it on Feb. 10, but since he was going away for the weekend, he didn't open the package until Monday, when he put it on.

Asked if it still fits so many years later, Clark said it does - assuming "unbelievably tight" is a good fit.

Clark said the place he lost his ring was fitting because he's a historic preservation specialist.

"I work at places like Fort Frederick," he said.

He said he has worked on a stone building at Antietam National Cemetery.

He also has a Western Maryland tie in Middletown in Frederick County, where he lived for about five years.

Hose, 53, said she was glad to be part of a story with a nice ending.

She said she tried to find Clark and get him his ring because she hopes someone would do the same for her if she needed it.

She does.

Hose lost her class ring 20 years ago - Williamsport High School, class of 1969.

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