• Last modified 246 days ago (June 27, 2019)


Lost ring finds its way back to man's family

Staff writer

When Rita Tomlinson saw someone walking to her door with a Marion High School Class of ’91 ring Friday, her first thought was that it looked just like her son’s.

It was.

“I was very emotional when she brought it over,” Tomlinson said. “She had it on her finger and when she held it up, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, that might be my son’s ring.’”

Her son, Gary Klose, had lost the ring nearly a decade ago.

Finding it had extra significance since he died in 2016.

“We were very close,” Tomlinson said. “Everyday something happens and I think about him.”

The ring was found in a shoe of a camouflaged Build-A-Bear, sold by Kelley Schafers at a garage sale Friday.

Schafers, an elementary teacher in Wichita, had bought the bear from St. Luke Auxiliary Thrift Shop, and had it in her classroom.

“I didn’t need it anymore, so I was selling it,” she said. “I had it a year, and it just sat there. It was just room decoration, and then I got tired of it.”

An hour after it was sold at her mother’s garage sale, the buyer came back with the ring. She wasn’t seen again, and Schafer didn’t know her name.

“Only in rural America would somebody do that, and bring it back knowing where it goes,” said Mary Ann Conyers, Schafer’s mom.

The ring was lost so long Tomlinson gave up finding it.

“I didn’t know if he had sold it, lost it, or where it would be,” she said. “I thought it was gone.”

Tomlinson said she didn’t know where the bear came from, but it may have belonged to her grandson.

Now that she has the ring, Tomlinson thinks it should go to her grandson, who recently turned 17.

“He always thought Gary’s ring was so unique and special because it was for school, and we’d bought it for Gary,” she said. “Probably a year ago her grandson said, ‘I wonder what happened to my dad’s class ring.’ ”

In the meantime, Tomlinson set it with other keepsakes to remember Klose.

“I went and set it right beside his picture,” she said. “It just felt a little more complete there.”

Last modified June 27, 2019