After 54 years, Brion Bell, a 1967 graduate of Libertyville High School, was shocked and happily surprised when his lost class ring was returned to him.
Bell lost his class ring on the night of his Senior Prom, which was held in late May in 1967. While celebrating the evening with his friends, Bell dropped the ring on a beach near Lake Michigan. After realizing the ring was missing, Bell tried to search for his possession, but he could not find it.
Jim Boehm found the ring on the beach near Lake Michigan in Racine, Wisconsin, when he was a kid in 1967. Boehm moved to Atlanta and kept the ring with him for the next 44 years.
Boehm wasn’t able to find the owner right away because there were no people on the beach where he found it, and no obvious contact information.
“Being a kid at the time I didn’t know much about life much less how to find a ring’s owner you simply found on the beach,” said Boehm. “It wasn’t until years later that I even noticed something scratch[ed] on the inside of the ring that was very hard to make out what it was. It appeared to be initials but, [it was] very hard to make out being so small in hand written cursive style.”
Boehm contacted LHS Main Office secretary Sandra Kruckman in September. Boehm stated that he had a class ring that he believed belonged to the high school. He then sent pictures of the ring to Ms. Kruckman and she proceeded to determine the owner.
The images of the ring that were sent included two very important clues for Ms. Kruckman. Inscribed on the inside were both the year 1967 and the initials B.A.B. Ms. Kruckman deduced from the information that the graduation year was 1967, but she did not know who “B.A.B.” was.
Ms. Kruckman first looked through the 1967 yearbook, searching for a senior who had the initials “B.A.B."
Just to make sure that she had found the right person, Ms. Kruckman referenced the 2008 alumni phone book, trying to find the initials B.A.B. After searching alphabetically, she was able to narrow the choices down to one possibility: Brion A. Bell.
In the alumni phone book, right by the name of each LHS alum is where those individuals were last employed. In the book, Ms. Kruckman saw that Bell last worked as an assistant librarian at Amherst Elementary School in Amherst, Wisconsin.
“Out of curiosity, I called the school. Brion Bell no longer worked there, but his wife did,” said Ms. Kruckman.
In order to reach out to Mr. Bell, Ms. Kruckman decided to contact Mrs. Bell personally.
“I emailed [her] per an email address listed on the school website,” said Ms. Kruckman.
Upon doing so, Ms. Kruckman was able to relay the information to the Bell family in regards to the missing class ring. Almost immediately, Mrs. Bell responded with an ecstatic email.
“What a great way to start my morning when I found your email!” responded Mrs. Bell. “Brion had lost his class ring years ago and though he would never find it.”
Ms. Kruckman emailed Boehm the name and phone number of Mrs. Bell. Boehm then called Mrs. Bell and told her his side of the story. Boehm also sent an email to Ms. Kruckman stating that he had shipped the ring to the Bell household in Wisconsin. The ring reached Mr. Bell on Oct. 7, 2011.
“It was because of you and your efforts and your friendly helpful spirit answering the phone at Libertyville High School that the Class of 1967 Class ring is in route to be united with its rightful owner,” stated Boehm, respectfully thanking Ms. Kruckman in an email.
“When the ring arrived in the mail and my husband opened the package, he cried with happiness,” said Mrs. Bell. “All Mr. Boehm wanted us to do was send a picture of my husband ‘with the ring on his finger and a smile on his face’. We were very happy to do that.”
Both the Bells and Boehm believe that they have found new friends in each other.
“Both Mr. Bell and I feel this whole experience with the ring was a fairytale with a happy ending,” said Mrs. Bell.