Lost class ring reunited with owner 50 years later

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) - Barbara Burgess has been metal detecting for nearly 20 years. She normally finds coins and tin trash. A few weeks ago she found something special in a neighborhood near the University of South Alabama.

“It was just a good loud signal and so I dug it and I was like holy cow it’s a big gold ring," said Burgess.

It was a class ring from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. It was engraved with the initials "SRS." With help of the alumni association, Burgess was able to track down its owner.

The ring belonged to Dr. Stephen Sheppard of Azalea City Plastic Surgery. He lost the ring nearly 50 years ago. The last thing he says he remembers about the ring was giving it to an old girlfriend.

“I can’t remember if she ever gave it back to me or not," said Sheppard. "She must have because I did lose it.” 

Burgess says finding both the ring and Dr. Sheppard is something meaningful to her.

“It was definitely a bucket list find," said Burgess. "It’s like every metal detectorist’s dream to find something that good and returning it was what was really special to me.”

Mobile County

Baldwin County

Northwest Florida