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Lost class ring returned to owner’s family after 30 years

Posted: May 17, 2017 - 1:27am
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Earlene LaFontaine shows Pantoja S. Allen the 1982 North Augusta High School ring lost by Allen’s father between 1982 and 1990.

For 30 years, the ring was lost. Dropped in a Washington Road parking lot, mashed nearly flat by a car's tire, it sat in one jewelry box, then another, until about a month ago.

That's when a third effort to find its owner finally worked, mostly because of social media.

The 1982 North Augusta High School class ring was owned, and lost, by Timothy Lional Allen. His daughter has it now.

Its long journey back to Allen's family started sometime between 1982 and 1990.

Earlene LaFontaine's mother was the first to find it - so long ago she can't remember which parking lot or what year. Allen's wife, Janice L. Allen, said he didn't have it when they met in 1990 and he never mentioned losing his class ring.

LaFontaine's mother wanted to find the ring's owner but didn't know how to go about it, LaFontaine said. And back then, there was no internet and no Facebook friends to help.

The ring was mostly forgotten.

Then, about eight years ago, LaFontaine remembered it and decided to make another try.

She called NAHS and gave the school a description of the ring, including the initials inside - TLA. Someone at the school checked but said that didn't match anyone from the Class of 1982.

The ring went into LaFontaine's jewelry box and waited some more.

Then, about a month ago, LaFontaine told Lisa Kaylor about it.

Kaylor, a former Augusta Chronicle reporter who now works for Where Traveler, thought she and Facebook might be able to figure it out.

And she was right.

Her original post was shared and shared again until finally Allen's daughter, Pantoja S. Allen, got a message from a woman she didn't know, saying: "I think this might be your father's ring."

Pantoja and her mother got back to Kaylor, and everybody met Wednesday at Cracker Barrel. Kaylor and LaFontaine brought the ring. Mother and daughter brought a photo of Allen in his Army uniform and a copy of a photo from the 1982 NAHS annual showing him in a group of people.

They drank sweet tea and told stories.

Allen, sadly, had died in 2015. He'd been in the Army and worked in law enforcement and lost a long battle with kidney disease.

"With all the things going on in the world today, it's nice to find good, honest people," Janice Allen said.

Pantoja Allen, now a business consultant in Atlanta, said she has a special jewelry box with her father's name on it to keep the ring in. Even though it's bent, a jeweler would be able to fix it easily.

"I'm just so thrilled we finally got it to the right people," LaFontaine said. "I'm sorry it took so long."

Janice and Pantoja assured her that was OK. What's important is that they have it now, and they have some new friends.

Janice got their addresses so she can send Christmas cards.

 

Reach James Folker at (706) 823-3338 or james.folker@augustachronicle.com.

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