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Lost and found: WHS 1953 class ring turns up in bottom of metro lake

Scott Juusola took this photo of the ring he found in the bottom of a lake.

WORTHINGTON — A Twin Cities-based treasure hunter has dug up a precious bauble, and now he’s on the hunt to return it to its rightful owner.

Scott Juusola of Columbia Heights spends a lot of his free time SCUBA diving, and he uses an underwater metal detector to search for sunken treasures in the bottoms of lakes.

“I’m part of the Ring Finders network. I kind of treasure hunt for a hobby,” he explained in a phone interview.

During a recent underwater foray, he turned up a 1953 Worthington High School class ring.

“I was over on Silver Lake in Columbia Heights,” he said. “They’ve got an old Salvation Army camp there that dates back. … Right now it’s known as Three Rivers Park. There are three beaches on the lake, and at this one really old beach I found, I’ve been diving on it and pulling a lot of stuff out. One of the trinkets I pulled last week was this ring.”

The WHS ring — a woman’s style — has initials engraved in it that Juusola believes are “SJJ” — although the italic writing and time spent in the lake makes it difficult to decipher.

Through some online yearbook sleuthing, Juusola thought he’d found a match with the name Shirley Jorgenson, so he made a post on Facebook, looking for anyone who might be related to the ring’s owner or know someone by that name.

However, in perusing the WHS 1953 yearbook, it was determined a more likely match is Sylvia Jenkins.

Juusola hopes he will once again have success in returning a long-lost treasure to its rightful owner. In a similar case, he found a class ring in Lake Minnetonka and was able to give it to the original owner’s daughter, her mother having died several years earlier of cancer.

“I found a set of dogtags the week before” he located the ring in Silver Lake, Juusola shared. “I got the dogtags back to the guy’s grandson last week. It’s really kind of fun to see their faces if they are still around and can get it back.”

Anyone with possible claims to the WHS ring or information can contact Beth Rickers, 376-7327.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/.  

(507) 376-7327
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