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Missing class ring found after 30 years

For 30 years, Bobby Williamson’s class ring was on an unknown journey.

Williamson, a 1964 graduate of Heard County High School, lost his ring three decades ago, and as the years passed by, he figured it wasn’t coming back.

That’s what made the news Williamson received in February so unexpected, yet so incredibly welcome.

A little more than two months ago, a class ring was found in a home, and the person who discovered it set out to find its owner.

The ring had Heard County class of 1964 etched on it, so the search was on.

Eventually, the former superintendent of Heard County schools, Benjamin Hyatt, was able to identify the ring as the long-lost one that belonged to Williamson.

Soon after, an object Williamson never imagined he would see again was returned to him by one of his former students, Karen Justice, whose younger sister Robin found the ring.

“I’m proud to have it back,” said Williamson, who lives in Pine Mountain. “That’s one of the prized possessions of a high-school graduate that they try to keep up with. It’s not worth anything to anybody else, but to me it’s everything.”

Williamson, who received his undergraduate degree from Georgia Southwestern and a master’s degree from LaGrange College, began his 45-year teaching career at LaGrange Boys Junior High School.

In subsequent years, Williamson taught math at a handful of schools, including Hogansville High, before landing at Harris County where he remained for 11 years.

After retiring as a public-school teacher, Williamson taught at Calvary Christian School in Columbus for 15 years.

Williamson also had a stint in the military following college, an experience he believes prepared him for the classroom.

“The month after I graduated, I got a message from Uncle Sam. Greetings, Uncle Sam wants you,” Williamson said. “It turned out to be one of the best things God had planned for me. It instilled some discipline in me that I passed along to my students. I spent a year in South Korea away from my wife and my child. When I came home and went into the classroom, I talked to those students like my drill sergeant talked to me. I didn’t have any problems out of them.”

Somewhere along the way, Williamson’s beloved class ring was lost, and unbeknownst to him, it ended up in the possession of the father of one of his former students at Harris County.

In 2011, a notice was placed in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in an attempt to find the ring’s owner, but Williamson didn’t see it.

Earlier this year, following the death of Karen Justice’s parents, a search of the house revealed the ring, and it was Benjamin Hyatt who made the connection to Williamson.

“He got his yearbook down, and he said that belongs to Bobby Williamson,” Williamson said. “Long story short. They got back in touch with me through Heard County, and his girlfriend actually called me and said I think we found your class ring. Are you missing one? I said yeah, where’d you find it? And that was it.”

Williamson plans on keeping a close eye on the ring this time around, and its new home is in his wife’s jewelry box, and that’s where it will remain.

As for where the ring was lost, and where it was found, that will forever remain a mystery.

“If I’d have known about this man finding it, I would liked to have asked him where he found it,” Williamson said. “He died in 2011, and his wife died this past year. When both of the parents died, that’s when this girl started looking through the house and ran across the ring. The rest is history.”