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Man’s class ring lost at Chicago Carson’s turns up after 38 years

ADVANCE FOR USE SATURDAY JUNE 18 AND THEREAFTER - In this photaken June 8 2011 Ray GordPekIll. shows his 1971

ADVANCE FOR USE SATURDAY, JUNE 18 AND THEREAFTER - In this photo taken June 8, 2011, Ray Gordon of Pekin, Ill., shows his 1971 Pekin Community High School class ring, which was returned to him after it had been missing since 1973. (AP Photo/The Pekin Times, Josh Bradshaw)

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Updated: June 18, 2011 9:25PM

It seems almost as sure a constant of life as death and taxes: If you wear your high school class ring, you’re going to lose it.

Just ask Ray Gordon and many of his Pekin Community High School classmates.

But it’s “amazing” for it to turn up after 38 years. Gordon, 58, described the moment when Pekin District 303 Supt. Paula Davis came to his door on the city’s north side last week to deliver the jewelry, wrapped in plastic and shining like new. “It looked like I’d never worn it,” he said.

But the ring was surely his. Its inner band bore his engraved initials.

After graduation in 1971, Gordon said, “I moved to Chicago and went to the American Academy of Art” to study graphic arts, which eventually became his career. “I got a part-time job in the sign department at Carson Pirie Scott.”

One day in 1973, “I went to wash my hands” to remove ink smears and he left the restroom without his ring. He realized his mistake within a half hour, but the ring was already gone.

“The store wasn’t even open yet, so another employee had to have taken it. I went to the office and said, ‘Let me know if it turns up.’ It never did.”

Two months ago, Davis telephoned Gordon to ask if he’d lost his ring. “I said, ‘Yeah, 38 years ago,’” he chuckled.

Davis explained that a woman called the school from Chicago to relate that her brother, a priest, had recently died and she found the ring among his belongings.

“I can only think the priest must have worked at Carson before he was a priest,” Gordon said. “He probably meant to turn the ring in but just forgot.”

It bore the initials LRG faintly etched in its band. A spokesman for Davis said recently that school secretary Paula Henninger researched 1971 class records and found only one student with those initials, Louis Ray Gordon.

The ring no longer fits on his third finger, “but I can get it on my pinky,” he said. AP

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