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St. Joseph High School grad, lost class ring reunited decades later

| Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, 9:26 a.m.
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Jill K. Hazlett, left, gives Marcia Stiner her 1961 St. Joseph High School class ring that Hazlett found over 30 years ago on a coinbox at a car wash near the Do Drop Inn in Harrison. The two met for the first time in front of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church on Friday morning to exchange the ring. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch

HARRISON — When Marcia Stiner dropped her St. Joseph High School class ring on a dark night in 1962 while hanging out with friends in a parking lot on Pacific Avenue, she thought she'd never see it again.

“We looked everywhere, and I couldn't find it,” said Stiner, 69, of Brackenridge who was then Marcia Bober. “I thought it was lost forever.”

It was lost, but not forever.

Through a combination of still-unknown factors, Jill K. Hazlett stumbled upon the ring 16 years later at a car wash that used to sit where medical offices now reside.

“It was just sitting right on top of the machine that you put money in for the wash,” said Hazlett, now 50, of New Kensington. “I picked it up and took it home with me.

“I looked in the ‘lost and found' section of the newspaper for a long time after that to see if anyone was looking for it,” she said. “But I never saw anything.”

Hazlett put the ring in a jewelry box and forgot about it. That is, until she decided to clean the box out last week.

“I picked it up and saw that it had ‘SJ' written on it, which I assumed was St. Joes, and ‘M.B.' inscribed,” she said. “It has the year Marsha graduated on it, and it's small so I knew it was a woman's ring.”

“I felt guilty I had kept it all these years, so I had to find a way to give it back.”

Hazlett got in touch with St. Joseph High School, which, in turn, scoured through old yearbooks to find a female “M.B.”

“I used to drive by where I lost it, and every now and then think about what happened to the ring,” Stiner said. “When St. Joes called me to tell they had it, I was in complete shock.

“The woman said, ‘Did you lose a class ring?' I said, ‘Yeah, about 50 years ago.'

“I never thought it would really be mine. I was shaking like a leaf.”

Hazlett and Stiner, who had never met until the Valley News Dispatch got them together for this story, will join St. Joseph in a special tradition.

As is custom at the high school, on Oct. 24, St. Joseph seniors will present juniors with their class rings. Hazlett and Stiner will be part of the ceremony.

Hazlett said when she refound the ring in her jewelry box, she thought for a second about keeping the 14-karat gold ring but she couldn't do it.

“I just had to get it to its rightful owner,” she said about the ring, which is worth about 50 times as much today as it was in 1962. “That ring belongs to Marsha. I just wish I could have given it back to her sooner.”

R.A. Monti is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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