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Wilson Steen III EndowmentLarry Medford's Ring

Norman High School
Class of 1969

The Ring.......


On December 17, 2007, I received an e-mail from Mr. Ted Boswell of South Devon, England. He was trying to locate the owner of a ring that he found at Mothecombe Beach in South Devon, England. Ted said he and his children were at the beach one day. He was taking a break from playing football on the beach and he and his young son went to explore the rock pools left at low tide. Ted explained that the ring was caught in a small rock that stood no more than a foot high out of the sand and only visible at low tide. He joked with his children that the ring could belong to Lord Lucan! Lucan was the English peer who disappeared mysteriously in 1974, after the murder of his children's nanny. Ted told me that the ring was found in the late 70's and at the time, he had failed to find the owner. He had contacted a friend in the United States to help him locate the owner, but none was to be found. Ted then put the ring in a drawer and forgot about it.

Recently, in 2007, he and his wife had the kitchen remodeled in their home. While he and his wife were going through, sorting things, they came across the ring again. Since they had recently obtained the internet, Ted thought it might be a good way of seeing if he could locate the owner.

He said, "Finding Norman High School was easy". I, Peggy Clark Smith, had only made the website for the Norman High School Class of 1969 about a month prior to Ted contacting me. He sent excellent photos of the ring and told me that on the inside was inscribed the name "John Roberts" and the characters "LM 1000"

After examining the ring, I informed Ted that it was indeed one of our rings. John Roberts was the company that made our class rings in 1969. Having the initials LM narrowed the search down a lot. I couldn't really tell from the photos if the ring was a man's or woman's ring, so I wrote Ted and asked him. He replied that it was a man's ring. That narrowed the search even further.

I wrote the classmates that I have e-mail addresses for a note, telling them that a ring had been found. I informed them that the ring was yellow gold, a man's ring and was definitely one of ours. I didn't tell them the initials on the inside, or the color of the stone. I was surprised at the number of replies that I got stating people had lost their class rings.

We had two guys in our class with the initials LM. One was Lane Malmberg. I called Lane and asked him about his class ring. Bet he thought I was a nut! He told me that he had lost his a long time ago. I then asked him to describe it to me. He told me it was yellow gold and had a blue stone. I knew that it wasn't his, because the stone didn't match.

I then decided that the ring had to belong to Larry Medford. The only problem with that was……….Larry died in April 1987 of a massive heart attack. Also, I didn't have an address or phone number for his twin sister Linda, who also graduated with us. So I jumped into the Norman phone book, came up with some Medford's and started calling them. I finally got in touch with Gary Medford, Larry and Linda's younger brother. I told him who I was and asked about getting in touch with Linda for the upcoming 40th reunion. He gave me her address, but didn't want to give out her phone number or e-mail. I then asked him if he knew anything about Larry's class ring. He told me not really. I then proceeded telling him about the ring and that I was sure it was probably Larry's. We talked for a while and then he said that he did have Linda's phone number. I can totally understand his hesitancy to give it to me, not knowing me from Adam. We decided that he might be best if he called Linda and have her call me. She did call me that same day! We talked and I asked her some questions about Larry's ring. I asked about the color of the stone. She said it would probably be red because that was his favorite color. The stone was a red color…maybe even orange…….I'm sure, it was bleached from being in the ocean and sun. I then asked about his initials on the inside. I told her it had LM 1000 and neither of us could come up with anything for that. She said she would do some checking into it to see what she could find out. I asked about how it could have turned up in England and was told that in the early 70's, Larry was in the service and stationed in San Antonio. He had met a girl, named Teresa, and knew that she would be the one he married. Possibly, he gave his class ring to her……no one knows for sure.

Linda called me back the next day, after speaking to their 81 year old mother. She was told the 1000 in the ring was because Larry had to work 100 hours at his dad's service station in order to pay for the ring. Larry told people that it was like working 1000 hours, and he had it put in his ring to remember it.

I told Linda and Gary both that the ring belonged to the family and I would do what I could to get it back to them. Linda said she would like to see it go to Larry's son, who was only 4 years old when his father died.

On December 19, I sent Ted an e-mail telling him that the owner had been found. I told him all the details and even sent him the senior yearbook photo of Larry, so he could put a face with the person.

On December 20th, I received an e-mail from Ted stating his happiness that we had found the owner of the ring. He told me that he was "thrilled that the ring will be 'going home' ". He also told me that he had packaged the ring up and put it in the mail to me that day.

I received the ring on December 31, 2007. We are to present Larry's ring to his brother Gary at our monthly "gathering" in Norman on Saturday, January 19, 2008.

I too am thrilled to have been a part of getting the ring back to its home. I just wish Larry could be here with us to get it back personally.

January 19, 2008

Tonight, we got together at Coaches to return Larry Medford's ring to his family. Gary, his brother, was there to accept it on behalf of the family. It was a very heartwarming experience to know this ring had come from half way around the world, just to get back home to the family. We will never know the story of its travels.

Ring completes circle of life

The Norman Transcript January 20, 2008 Transcript Staff Writer Meghan McCormick 366-3539

Peggy Clark Smith & Gary Medford

It was late 1979 in South Devon England, when Ted Boswell and his family headed out for a day at the beach along the stretch of coast between Mothecombe and Bigbury Bay. That day, Boswell said he and his son decided to take a break from playing football and explore the rock pools left at the low tide. As the father and son skimmed through the pools, they found a class ring with a Norman High School inscription caught in an outcrop of rocks. "The ring was caught in a small rock that stood no more than a foot high out of the sand," Boswell said. "I joked to the children that it could belong to Lord Lucan. You might know that he was the English peer who disappeared mysteriously in 1974, after the murder of his children's nanny." Boswell said he took the ring home and hoped he would be able to reunite it with its owner. The ring was engraved with "John Roberts and L.M. 1,000." The man believed it was the owner's name and the latter referred to the manufacturing company. "At the time I worked for an American company and I asked an acquaintance in America if he could trace a John Roberts, who was a former student at Norman High.?No contact was made, so the ring was put away and forgotten about," he said. The memento stayed in an "odds and ends" box in Boswell's kitchen for almost three decades until one day in November when he and his wife came across it as they took on a remodeling project. Thanks to advances in technology and a local woman's decision to create a Web page dedicated to her alma mater, Boswell was finally able to learn just who John Roberts was and his connection to Norman High School's class of 1969. "We went on to the Internet on November 2007 and I saw it as a good opportunity to trace the owner of the ring," Boswell said.?"So I Googled Norman High and Peggy's Web site came up.?At first I was looking for a John Roberts, but fortunately Peggy Clark Smith had just set up a class of '69 Web site so I made contact with her." Smith said she created the Web page to keep in touch with classmates. Next year, the group will celebrate its 40th high school reunion, and Smith is in charge of keeping an address listing of graduates. The woman had no clue that within a month's time the Web page she founded would help an English man link a class ring to its owner. "On Dec. 17, I got an e-mail from a man in England saying he had found a Norman High School class of 1969 ring." Smith said. "He sent pictures of this class ring and said he had found it in the late '70s on a beach in England." After studying the pictures, Smith was sure of one thing. "I knew it was one of ours," she said referring to the keepsake. Smith explained to Boswell that John Roberts wasn't a classmate, but instead the former Norman manufacturing company which designed and made the rings. Once she was given the initials L.M., she narrowed the search to two men. She said she phoned the first gentleman and indeed he had lost his ring. But after he gave a description, she learned the stone set in his ring was blue, not red like the one Boswell found. Smith said soon after their conversation ended, she suspected the lost ring might belong to fellow classmate Larry Medford. There was just one problem. In April 1987, Medford suffered a massive heart attack and died at age 36. At the time of his death he left behind a wife and two children Amanda, 8, and Larry Dell Jr., 4. Smith said she took the next step and found his brother, Gary Medford because she knew Larry graduated with his twin sister, Linda Stephens, who might be able to claim the ring. "I didn't know how I was going to bring it up," she said. "Some families are very sensitive many years after losing a loved one." Smith said the brother was unaware Medford purchased a class ring, but he gave Smith his sister's contact information. Shortly thereafter, it was confirmed that Medford was the ring's owner. His 81-year-old mother who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, knew the inscription inside the ring, L.M. 1,000, and told them what it symbolized. "He worked 100 hours for his dad at a service station in order to get the money to pay for the ring and said it was like working 1,000," Smith said. Both Medford sons worked for their father at Medford's Texaco at 2550 W. Main Street. Smith said she e-mailed Boswell with the good news. He agreed to send the ring to Smith. By Saturday night, the memento was back where it belonged. Smith met Gary Medford at Coach's Restaurant and Brewery to deliver the ring. "It's fantastic, just to know that someone from across the world sent an e-mail and I was able to help him connect and get it back," she said. "I just wish Larry was here to get it back himself." Medford said he was stunned when Smith called him last month and passed on the news about the ring. "I first of all couldn't believe it," he said. Both he and his sister have decided they would like for their nephew Larry Dell Jr. to have the ring. Medford said there could be dozens of explanations for how the ring ended up in another country, but noted his brother was stationed in England during his military service. "It's just one of those things that shows you how small the world really is," he said. Boswell said he's thrilled the ring is back in Norman with the Medfords. "I am so pleased that the Medford family have a treasured memento returned," he said. "The final contact with the Medford's was made by Peggy on my birthday Dec. 19 which was cause for a double celebration." Stephens wasn't able to attend the gathering Saturday evening. In a phone interview, she said she and her twin brother shared a close relationship growing up. "There's a closeness with a twin that cannot be described," she said. Stephens moved to Texas after graduating high school nearly 39 years ago. She resides in Wylie, Texas, but visits her hometown frequently. The sister said she believes her brother would be at peace knowing his ring has been returned to his family after all this time. "I think he would be very grateful that someone took the time to return his ring with all of the years and miles between," she said. Stephens described her twin brother as an "electronic genius" and said that his talent was recognized by the United States Army after he was drafted in 1971. He served his country as an electronics specialist and primarily worked on aircraft. "He served four years. He traveled all over the world in the Army," the sister said. At the time of his death, the brother lived in Conroe, Texas, where he was buried. Stephens said she considers the ring an early present for her and her younger brother. Medford will celebrate his birthday Jan. 28 and Stephens will turn a year older Feb. 5. "This is like a birthday to me and my brother Gary to be able to honor Larry," she said.

American Ring

by Ted Boswell


The following was sent to me and was written by Mr. Ted Boswell of England. He wrote this for his Village Magazine.

Nearly thirty years ago, while having 'beach time' with the children on the South Devon coast, I found a ring wedged in the crevice of a rock exposed at low tide. My very first thought was that this was Lord Lucan's embarkation point! Further inspection showed it was an American college ring, with a large stone and embossed with the college name, a tiger head emblem and the year 1969. Engraved on the inside were the characters L.M. 1000 and the name John Roberts. The letters and numbers I took to be the manufactures reference.

At that time, I worked for an American company and I contacted an American colleague to ask him if he could locate a person called John Roberts who was an ex-student of Norman High. Time went by, I heard nothing more and the ring found its way into a kitchen drawer and forgotten.

. After a change of house and a recent change of kitchen, my wife having a 'clear out' (as they do) brought the ring to my attention. Having recently 'gone on line' I thought I would try to locate the owner through the internet. Locating the college was no problem, but the student John Roberts proved elusive, despite trawling through re-union lists. A Peggy Clarke Smith, who runs the Class of 69 web site, was listed so I made contact with her. It is a strange coincidence that Peggy set up her web site for the class of 69 in Nov. 07 around the same time as we were connected to the internet! The ring was photographed and details were e-mailed to Peggy. Within a day she replied and confirmed it was a Norman High college ring, but the name John Roberts was the manufacturer of the ring not the owner. The initials L.M were significant to Peggy, so she phoned or e-mailed all her contacts in an endeavour to trace the owner.

The following day, the twin sister of the owner made contact with Peggy. The owner was named Larry Medford, which accounted for the L.M. initials. He had asked his father to buy the ring, but Dad said he had to work for 100 hours at his service station to earn money for the ring. He later told his sister that the 100 hours felt more like 1000 hours, hence the L.M.1000.

The sister went on to explain that her brother had joined the army and had given the ring to an English girl whom he met while stationed in San Antonio, Texas, a girl he was sure he would marry. Apparently, this did not happen and they went their separate ways.

Unfortunately, Larry died from a massive heart attack in 1987 leaving a wife and a four year old son. It is not known whether the ring was lost by his ex-girlfriend on her return to England or whether she threw it into the sea in a fit of pique on the break up of her relationship with Larry, or she had returned the ring to Larry and he had lost it while in the U.K. We will probably never know.

The contact with Larry's sister was made on my birthday, Dec19th - a wonderful present! The ring was despatched by Airmail on the 20th and arrived on 31st. December. His family are really excited. His sister and brother have said it means the world to have the ring back.

The local paper in Norman, a town in Oklahoma, has shown interest in the story and the plan is to invite some of Larry's friends to the college, on Sat.19th. Jan. where the ring is to be presented to Larry's brother. The ring is to be given to Larry's son at the request of Larry's mother who is now 81 years old.

How did we manage without the Internet? In this case I didn't.