LUBBOCK, Texas – An 84-year-old Washington state woman will soon hold her 1953 university class ring, lost six decades ago, after it was found in a dried-up West Texas lake.
Elizabeth Clark lost her Howard Payne University class ring in 1954 in Lake Nasworthy near San Angelo when she and her future husband went for a picnic and waded into the water. Clark said she wasn't certain where she had lost the ring -- after discovering it was missing, she looked around her home before going back to search at the lake.
After years of drought, the ring revealed itself in the lake bed and it was found in March. Someone from the school's alumni association drove to San Angelo to retrieve the ring and was able to identify it from the initials -- AEL for Addie Elizabeth Little -- inside the band.
"I worked hard for that ring," Clark said. "I'm grateful it was found and that it was in good shape after 60 years."
The ring, which is 10-karat gold with a blue stone, needed some cleaning up by a local jeweler.
Clark's daughter, Donna Clark-Love of Houston, said her mother was delighted.
"She cried, she was just couldn't believe it," she said. "This was like the highlight of her life. She is just thrilled."
Clark, one of 16 children, was the only one who finished college. She got her degree in elementary education and taught fifth grade in California for the Santa Anna Unified School District, where he daughter said she won a teacher of the year award.
The ring will be returned to Clark at a family reunion Friday in her hometown of Brownfield, about 40 miles southwest of Lubbock. The woman who found the ring, Lindsay Waddell, will present it to Clark.
"I think she's more excited about getting the ring back than coming to the reunion," Clark-Love said.
Clark, who remains in contact with many of her college friends, couldn't wait to tell them the good news, Clark-Love said.
"She got on the horn and called everybody," her daughter said.