June 14 (UPI) -- A New York woman cleaning out her parents' home after their deaths discovered a class ring and was able to track down the man who lost it 63 years earlier.
Mary Jo Orzech of Brockport said she was cleaning out her parents' home in Lackawanna last year when she found the Lackawanna High School class of 1955 ring in a drawer in her father's dresser.
The ring bore the initials "ELD," Orzech's first clue toward finding the owner.
Orzech said working as a librarian at the SUNY College at Brockport gave her the skills she needed to begin the search. She tried the Lackawanna Public Library, but they didn't have any yearbooks from 1955.
She next tried contacting the Lackawanna High School library, but the school was closed due to to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Orzech said it took some time, but she eventually connected with Susan Palumbo, the Lackawanna High School librarian.
Palumbo consulted a 1955 yearbook and identified the ring's likely owner as Eugene Darmstedter, who is now in his 80s and still living in Lackawanna.
Darmstedter said he always believed the ring was lost at a softball game in 1958, but it's unclear how it came to be in Orzech's father's possession.
Orzech said her father and uncles owned a pub that was located nearby the fire station where Darmstedter worked as a firefighter in the 1950s. She said firefighters from the station would frequent the business.
Orzech arranged to meet with Darmstedter's grandson, Tony, to return the ring, and Darmstedter surprised her by accompanying the younger man. He said the ring now fits his finger better than it did when he got it.
Orzech said in a Facebook post she was "happy to return this ring to Mr. Darmstedter and meet his family!"