BROWNWOOD – July 10, 2014 – Elizabeth Clark of Granite Falls, Wash., a 1953 Howard Payne University alumna, was reunited July 4 with the university class ring she lost 60 years ago.
Stephen Sullivan, HPU’s director of alumni relations, and Lindsay Waddell, the woman who found the ring in a San Angelo lake, returned the ring to its owner while Clark, 84, was in Brownfield, Texas, for a family reunion.
Waddell was walking her dogs along the low waters of San Angelo’s Lake Nasworthy in March when she discovered the ring with the letters “A. E. L.” inscribed in the band. She contacted HPU officials who used a 1953 yearbook to find the only graduating senior with those initials – Addie Elizabeth Little. Nathan’s Jewelers of Brownwood cleaned the ring for free, restoring it to almost-new conditions.
According to Clark’s daughter and 1978 HPU graduate Donna Clark-Love, Clark was delighted to get a phone call from Sullivan letting her know her ring had been found.
“She got on the horn and called everybody,” Clark-Love told a reporter with the Associated Press.
Clark remembers losing the ring in the lake in 1954 while on a date with her future husband.
“She was devastated because she had worked so hard to make it through college,” Clark-Love said.
Lubbock-area television news crews and many family members and friends were in attendance as Clark slipped the ring on her finger for the first time in 60 years. The only one of 16 children in her family to graduate college, she fondly remembers her time at HPU.
“My son said, ‘Mom, it’s just a ring,’” she told the reporters. “I said, ‘It’s a special ring.’ I felt like I had lost part of me.”
According to Sullivan, the situation is proof of how God sends blessings even in times of extreme drought.
“If Lindsay hadn’t been out there that day we may never have found the ring,” he said, adding that Lake Nasworthy has since returned to full capacity. “We’re very grateful that she not only returned it to the university but was able to drive to Brownfield to personally present it to Mrs. Clark.”
Photo cutlines: Elizabeth Clark recently saw her Howard Payne University class ring for the first time in 60 years. She is pictured with Stephen Sullivan, director of alumni relations at the university.
Despite being at the bottom of a lake for 60 years, the ring was restored to almost-new conditions by Nathan’s Jewelers of Brownwood.