March 28, 2012 - It's a quest that spanned five communities in three states, but the mystery owner of an Indianwood Christian Academy (ICA) class ring was finally found thanks to Oxford resident Joe Bullen.
"It's been fun," he said.
Back in late February, the Leader ran a story about how Frank Fogg, a resident of Joplin, Missouri, was searching for the owner of a 1978 ICA ring he purchased at a yard sale.
His only clue were the initials on the ring – T.B.R.
Fogg wandered down various avenues in his search, but the 63-year-old kept running into dead-ends, mainly because ICA no longer exists.
Operated by the Bible Baptist Church (1100 S. Baldwin Rd. near Stanton Rd.), the school closed around 1995.
Fogg contacted the Leader seeking help and a story was written.
Bullen read the article and took it upon himself to join the quest. Having coached basketball at Oxford Christian Academy for 24 years, Bullen recalled his team playing ICA.
He dusted off his old scorebooks and lo and behold, he found a name that could be a possible match for the initials on the ring – Tim Reuther.
As luck would have it, Bullen knew Tim's father, Loyd Reuther, a retired pharmacist who used to be vice president of the Perry Drug Store chain and now lives in Toccoa, Georgia.
"The parents were very close friends of ours," he said.
Unfortunately, over the years, Bullen had lost track of Loyd
"I had my daughter track him down because she lives over in Jackson (Michigan) and she had been in touch with the family over the years. She tracked him down and had him call me," Bullen said.
Bullen asked Loyd what his son's middle name was.
When the answer was Brian, Bullen knew he had found his man.
Bullen put the Leader in touch with Loyd, who in turn put the newspaper in touch with Tim, who now lives in Griffin, Georgia, which is about 36 miles south of Atlanta.
"I would love (the ring) back," Tim said.
Tim had no recollection of losing the ring or any explanation as to how it could have ended up in Missouri.
"I noticed it was gone, but I don't remember when I lost it," he said. "I've been through Missouri – that's when I was working with Mayflower (moving company) – but not Joplin."
After ICA, Tim attended Oxford Christian Academy and lived in Oxford until 1990.
He's lived in Georgia for the last eight years. "I got tired of the snow," he said.
Tim is extremely grateful to Fogg for not only finding his class ring, but also taking the time to look for its rightful owner and return it.
"It's a good thing to find again," he said.
Fogg couldn't be more pleased that this story has such a happy ending.
"That is fantastic news. I'm really glad to hear that," he said. "That makes me feel great – it really does. It looks like we got a positive result out of this."
Fogg was thankful for the efforts of both Bullen and the Leader in tracking down the ring's original owner.
"I appreciate all your help," he said. "You've done a great job."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.