Owner found the lost class ring in a Minnesota lake nearly 50 years ago


“I wasn’t swimming too far from the landing, which is a place I watch very closely for invasive species,” Carlson said. “I saw something out of the corner of my eye and went to look and he was setting right on top of a rock.”

The ring had been at the bottom of the lake for some time and had accumulated since its passage underwater, but it still had many clear identifying features. It was a 1972 10k Pequot Lakes High School ring with a blue gemstone. On one side was the old Pequot Lakes logo and on the other were symbols: an atom, a pair of winged shoes, a harp, and another item likely related to the owner’s academic or athletic involvement.

Carlson posted a photo of the find on the Pine River / Backus Area Happenings Facebook page immediately after finding it.

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Meanwhile, in the Twin Cities, Carla Marie Headlee was browsing Facebook when she saw Carlson’s post. It was the first time she had seen the ring since 1972, when she lost it.

“I had it for three or four weeks and went swimming in Lake Ada with a friend,” Headlee said. “I swam in the water and got out and realized the ring was missing. We searched until dark and we couldn’t find the ring.”

Once cleaned of the things that have grown on it in the 49 years it has been underwater, this classy ring looks pretty new.  Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Once cleaned of the things that have grown on it in the 49 years it has been underwater, this classy ring looks pretty new. Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Headlee said she worked hard to cover half the cost of the ring, as a server and with Echo Publishing at Pequot Lakes. Her parents helped cover the other half. Asking for help to buy another was not something that interested him.

“I remember not even wanting to mention buying another one,” Headlee said. “I grew up in a family of 11 children, so I knew buying a second ring for me would have been unreasonable.”

Headlee texted Carlson and asked if it contained his initials. In fact, Carlson had this fact hidden so that not everyone could claim the ring, which was engraved CMH inside.

“I could show pictures of the thing all around because there were initials inside,” Carlson said.

The response to the discovery was immense; the Facebook post was shared over 800 times. Carlson, a fairly private individual, said he received requests afterwards to locate other lost items, including a wedding ring and a fishing rod.

As for the class ring, it is on its way back to its owner for a long overdue reunion that may never have taken place.

“I am amazed and very grateful that my ring has been found, thanks to Joe Carlson,” Headlee said. “It’s even cuter because I really didn’t expect to see it again. What a nice surprise!”


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