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Charly Haley , Published May 04 2013

Class ring returned after 31 years

FARGO – He doesn’t know where he lost it, and he’s not quite sure where it was found, but Jerry Prante drove up to Fargo from Wahpeton on Saturday to be reunited with his high school class ring – 31 years after it went missing.

The ring was found several years ago by Greg Olson, owner of Treasure Island Coins and Precious Metals in Fargo.

Olson, who isn’t sure when exactly he found the ring, said it looked like one he found while metal-detecting on Silver Lake near Hawley, Minn., but also said it could have been found somewhere near Wahpeton or Campbell, Minn.

Since the ring wasn’t a precious metal, Olson kept it in a “junk box,” bringing it out only every once in a while to demonstrate metal detectors to customers.

One of Olson’s employees noticed a few weeks ago that the ring had initials engraved inside its band: JEP. They called Campbell-Tintah (Minn.) High School, which was embossed on the front of the ring.

They asked the school if a “JEP” had graduated in 1982, which was also indicated on the ring.

On Monday, Prante got a call from his old high school asking if he’d lost his ring.

“I was surprised that that was what they were calling about,” Prante said.

When he met Olson at Treasure Island on Saturday morning in Fargo, Prante knew the ring was his.

“It’s the one,” he said.

The ring was still in good condition, which Olson said is typical of class rings.

Prante said he didn’t remember how he’d lost the ring, but said it could have been lost in a tornado that hit his parents’ Campbell home in 1982.

“You don’t know where you lost it, and I don’t know where I found it, but you’re getting it back,” Olson told Prante.

“Yeah, that’s the cool part,” Prante said.

The ring didn’t fit Prante’s fingers anymore – “I don’t know how that happened,” he joked. But he was still happy to be reunited with the ring.

“It’s just one of these cool, little things that happened,” Prante said.

Prante’s ring is one of many that Olson has returned in his 39 years of metal-detecting.

“It’s always rewarding to make someone’s day,” Olson said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Charly Haley at (701) 235-7311