Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

January 31, 2014

Lost wedding ring returned by chance

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Who would have thought a Christmas Day outing would lead to the recovery of a family heirloom?

But that's what happened to Petra Huffman McDonald. The Effingham woman thought she was just going to enjoy a drink with friends at the Orchard Inn this past Christmas. As it turned out, those friends knew where McDonald's mother's wedding ring was — five-plus years after her daughter lost it.

The story begins when Sally Springer married Pete Huffman in 1953. When the couple divorced 20 years later, Sally had the ring redesigned. After she died in 1995, brother Albert Springer took possession of it with the understanding that granddaughter Molly — Petra's daughter — would receive it once she graduated from high school.

Molly graduated from Effingham High School in 2008. Petra said Uncle Albert gave her daughter the ring as promised.

"But I made the mistake of letting her wear it before she got it sized," Petra recalled.

Molly lost the ring during the summer after graduation during a gathering at friend John Newsome Jr.'s house. Petra said she didn't think she would see the ring again.

"We just thought it was gone," she said.

Unbeknownst to the McDonalds, John Jr.'s mother Angie and sister Jackie found the ring when they were cleaning furniture in their basement.

Jackie Newsome Morrow, who now lives in Liverpool, Texas — a small community south of Houston — said she never wore the ring, because it didn't fit. Instead, she stored in a jewelry box and more or less forgot about it.

Then came Christmas Day at the Orchard. Petra, Angie, Jackie and John Sr. were visiting when Petra began talking about the ring her daughter had lost.

"Angie and Jackie looked at each other, then they told me the story about how they found it," she said.

Jackie gave Petra the ring Friday morning in front of Dr. Tony Weber's office on Evergreen Avenue. Petra said she couldn't stop crying.

"It's just amazing," she said. "When I got back in the car, I looked at it and just cried."

Petra said Molly, who now lives in Carbondale, won't be getting the ring back until it is sized to fit, if needed.

"She can try it on and if it doesn't fit, the first place we're going is a jeweler," she said with a laugh.

Jackie said she's glad the ring is back where it supposed to be.

"It's a blessing," she said. "I never would have remembered it, if Petra hadn't told this random story."

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com