Robbie Owens for CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COMBy Robbie Owens

RICHARDSON (CBS 11 NEWS) – A 1967 Richardson High class ring has found its way home. Last week, we told you how the ring was discovered in Betty Flanery Bailey’s jewelry box.

Bailey, family members say, was always finding things and couldn’t resist rescuing the occasional castoff.

So, when she died recently, relatives weren’t surprised to find silver dollars in a kitchen drawer.  But, the discovery of a ladies’ Richardson High School class ring touched off something of a mystery.  The ring belonged to member of the class of ’67 and Bailey graduated in ’54.

“At first, I thought it must be one of her sisters’ rings,” says daughter-in-law, Edith Ann Evans.  “But, of course the years didn’t match up.  Then we began to realize that it was something that she had found and just stuck away.”

Bailey’s son and daughter-in-law were determined to find the original owner.  And with the help of CBS 11 viewers, they believe they have.

“It was almost like it was meant to be, the way all the puzzle pieces fell in,” says Patsy Johnson, with a delighted chuckle.

Family members found the initials ‘PJ’ inscribed in the ladies’ ring.  And a trip to the local Richardson Library to look at yearbooks narrowed the search to either a ‘Pam’ or ‘Patsy’ Johnson.  But, that’s where the trail turned cold.  Online searches for the names turned up too many to follow.  But, that’s where our viewers stepped in.

As soon as the story aired, Johnson says her phone began to ring with family members asking frantically “Did you lose your class ring?” To which she says her reply was, “oh, yeah, a long time ago… hadn’t even thought about it in years.”

Johnson says she’s lived her entire life in North Texas— Richardson, Plano, back to Richardson and now McKinney—and just figured she’d lost the ring during one of the moves.  “Y’all have lost things and looked for them for years and just said ‘oh, the heck with it!’ [It’s] one of those things.”  But, Johnson still headed to to check out the story… and immediately began to wonder if the lost ring could be hers.

After meeting Evans in Richardson today, the ‘Cinderella test’ was all it took to convince her.

“Look how tiny it is!” exclaimed Evans, as Johnson slipped the class ring onto her finger.  And sure enough… “it fits!”, exclaimed Johnson with tears pooling in her eyes. “It takes you back to 18 again.  It brings back good memories.”

“And it looks really nice on her hand, too!” added Evans, as Johnson grabbed her for a quick hug.

“I can’t believe it… it still fits!,” said Johnson in some amazement.  “I’ve got a birthday coming up in 3 days and it’s the best birthday present.”

Last week, Evans became emotional when telling us how important it was to find the original owner.

“I lost Mom in January,” said Evans, her voice cracking and eyes filling with tears.   “We just lost his Mama and I’m just thinking somebody—even if she’s not alive—somebody might go ‘oh, a little piece of my Mama!’  It just seems important to return it to the original owner.”

And now, she says, returning the class ring to the owner—instead of an heir—is even sweeter.

“Yeah, it is,” says Evans.  “It is better.  Yeah.  This is good.”

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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