Photos courtesy Randy Mills

By Sandy Foster of the Tribune

There’s an old farmhouse that sits on ten acres in southwest Lee’s Summit. It’s been there over one hundred years. Back then, it sat on a single lane road, outside of town. Now, it’s nestled among new subdivisions and schools with shops and restaurants nearby.

Many families have called the farmhouse home through the years. In 1958 the Mills family purchased the house and surrounding ten acres. Mr. and Mrs. Mills raised their three children in the home and didn’t sell the property until nearly fifty years later.

Randy Mills, one of the Mills’ children, now lives in Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Lee’s Summit High School in 1979 and then went off to college at Missouri State University. From there he went on to a life in Texas. When he did so, he left behind fond memories such as fishing in a pond where Hawthorn Hill Elementary School now sits and cruising Third Street from Sonic to Jefferson on Saturday nights. But that’s not all Randy left behind when he moved to Texas. He left behind his class ring too.

“Back then class rings were only given to Seniors,” Randy explained in a recent phone interview. “I hadn’t had it very long when one day it came up missing.”

Randy said his mother, while disappointed, was more inclined to encouragement than punishment, and so he always held out hope that someday he would find his ring.

Fast forward forty-one years to last month. Michael Ruff, who lives near the area, had been using a metal detector on the property when the machine sounded. “It was my second trip to the property. I knew the house was incredibly old,” Michael explained. “On properties such as this, I often find old thimbles, pocket watches, coins, and things like that. On this day, I was a couple feet away from the front porch when my metal detector went off. I dug around, and about two inches underground I found the ring. It was caked in mud, so I cleaned it off and saw that it was a Lee’s Summit class ring,” he said. “I started hoping right then that it had a name inscription, and thankfully, it did.”

Michael gave the ring to Bruce Klostermann, the current property owner. Bruce then messaged Randy through Facebook Messenger and told him his ring had been found.

“I was overjoyed to hear they had found my ring,” Randy said. “I think I must have had the ring in my pocket when my mom washed clothes. Michael found it near where our clothesline had been, so it must have fallen out of my pants pocket when my mom hung the clothes on the line to dry.”

“I am very thankful to Michael and Bruce for returning the ring to me,” Randy said. “I always thought I might find it someday.”