Lost and Found: A Treasure in Our Own Backyard

Clint Dalbom
Neosho Parks Director
Shown is the late Bill Lucky's high school class ring. Lucky graduated from NHS in 1976. Courtesy photo provided.

On August 19, 2020, the Lady Roughrider’s Basketball team volunteered to help cleanup Big Spring Park. Crowder College students are required to perform community service each semester as part of their studies. Neosho Parks Department was fortunate enough to gain the help of this industrious group of students. The focus for the workday for the fall semester was to complete extra cleanup of the stream and grounds at Big Spring Park.

Our Parks Crew endeavors to keep all of our parks trash free. However, because trash can be hiding in the nooks and crannies of the park even with scheduled routine maintenance. The Parks Department readily welcomes community volunteers.

In the process of the park clean up, the Lady Roughriders found a Neosho High School class ring. The ring was found in the dirt, east of the wading pool fence. The ring was very dirty from apparently being in the dirt of Big Spring Park for a very long time. We dipped it in the spring water and wiped it off enough to see the date of 1976. That same evening, I gave the ring a little better cleaning and found the initials of W. A. L. engraved inside the ring.

I attended Neosho School District in elementary school. I did not graduate from High School at Neosho because my family moved to East Newton School District where I graduated in 1978. I developed lifelong friendships with people who did attend school in Neosho. One of those friends, Tim Cox, helped with the research in finding the owner of the ring.

This research led to Tim’s successful finding the owner of the ring who was William “Bill” Albert Lucky Jr. of New York, New York. Sadly, Bill Lucky died on January 28, 2019 in New York. The search changed to finding a close relative of William A. Lucky. The main researcher, Tim Cox went back to work. He found Bill’s sister and requested permission to provide my contact information to her.

A few days later Pamela Lucky contacted me and shared the story of the loss of the class ring.

William “Bill” Lucky had participated in a theatrical production held in Big Spring Park in the summer of 1976. One night after the play, Bill lost his class ring somewhere in the park and could not find it. He shared with Pamela that he hated to tell his mother about the loss due to the price of the class ring. Class rings in 1976, were in the price range of $100.00 to $120.00. That was a lot of money in those days for a 17-18-year-old kid. Personally, I did not purchase a class ring my senior year because of the cost. Bill eventually shared the loss of the ring with his mother and she was upset.

Fast-forward 44 years to August 19, 2020. Two groups of people were impacted by the finding of Bill Lucky’s class ring. A ring that had been lost seemingly forever in the Big Spring Park was found by a college student who was providing community service as a requirement at Crowder College. Her plans could possibly lead to a Division 1 University to play the sport she loves and to receive a bachelor’s degree in preparation for her future. The return of the ring can add to a sense of purpose to a young person working toward her future. Additionally, two sisters who lost their much-loved brother prematurely at the age of 60. Hopefully, this can bring some closure to a mourning family.

Personally, this is a story of true human interest. It reveals a connection we all have to places and things that we are familiar with. We do not know what day was to be our first, we never know what the future holds or what day will be our last. None of us ask to be here, it “happened”. We did not pick our roots or our branches, it all “happened”. According to science it is a “grand set of odds”, that each of us is even here. Chances are it cannot be repeated, but it “happened”. I believe that there is a grand plan for these things that “happen” and that none of this “happens” by chance. I also believe that this grand plan at some point will be revealed.

Neosho’s Parks are special! Take time from your busy schedule and drive through the park. Take a walk on one of the trails, angle for a rainbow trout in Hickory Creek or try your skills on a mountain bike. There is something in our Parks for everyone. You might even find a hidden treasure!

-Clint Dalbom, Neosho Parks Director, writes articles for the Neosho Daily News updating what's new in the local parks system.