Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

June 24, 2013

Woman & ring reunited after nearly 50 years


— By CHRIS AGEE



A man with local ties recently embarked on a mission to find the rightful owner of a class ring he found near Lake Kickapoo in Archer County.

Travis Rhoten's mother, Brenda, said the recent college graduate and now Travis Elementary teacher's aide visited the home

his father owns near the lake to help him with some work on the property.

 "After they finished working, they walked down to the water," she said. "The level of the lake was terribly low [and the ring] was half buried and half out. He just happened to see it at the edge of the water."

Initially, Rhoten could only determine the find was a class ring bearing the number "19," his mother recalled.

"He washed it off and realized it was a 1966 [Wichita Falls] Rider High ring," she said, noting she asked him what he planned to do with the keepsake.

"He answered with the correct response: 'I'm going to try to find the lady,'" she explained.

Through social media, Rhoten was able to find a webpage dedicated to the graduating class from which the ring was lost. Using the initials inscribed in the ring, he reached out to members of the page in hopes someone could lead him to the rightful owner.

"There was a man who worked at the Wichita Falls Harley-Davidson store who knew who the initials belonged to," Brenda Rhoten noted. "He was friends with her brother and finally got Travis' phone number to the lady."

Upon learning someone found the ring, she said Teresa Reich was overcome with emotion and couldn't wait to inform her elderly mother and father.

"She was so excited because she said her parents sacrificed a lot to buy her that ring," Rhoten's mother explained.

Reich was just 17 when she went skiing with a friend and lost the ring, expecting never to see it again.

"Her husband drives a bus in Austin and took the day off to drive her up to Bryson," Rhoten said, which is where her son is living during the summer. "They met and it was just so cool. She was really excited and she cried and cried."

The friend with whom she was skiing that day passed away

a few years later,

Rhoten said, explaining Reich feels "her friend led Travis to find

the ring."