It can be devastating to lose an irreplaceable, sentimental item, especially when it seems like it’s gone for good. But it turns out, sometimes things turn up in the last place you’d think to look—and you just have to wait for the right moment.
It all started October 11th, in Aloha, Oregon. Construction worker Tim Lacey was working on a job at Hazeldale Park, ripping up the sidewalk.
But then he saw something in the dirt—something shiny and glinting.
“It was kind of dirty, as you can imagine being underneath asphalt for a bunch of years,” he told The Oregonian.
“I just caught it out of the corner of my eye.”
Lacey picked it up—and was stunned when he realized what had been hiding under all that concrete.
A gold wedding ring.
Not only that, it was an old ring: the inscribed wedding date was “6-25-66.”
Also included was a pair of the couples’ initials: J.B. to D.A.
Lacey knew he had to try and find the ring’s owner. It may have seemed unlikely—who knows how long the ring was hidden under the sidewalk—but he just might have had enough information to track them down.
His co-worker suggested the “shot in the dark” idea of posting the ring’s info online, hoping the couples’ kids might see it.
But when that didn’t work, they turned to Oregonian reporter Samantha Swindler for help.
Swindler used her journalistic skills took to researching it the old-fashioned way: checking public records. However, she couldn’t find a match in either the vital records office or the library’s catalog of wedding records.
But then another idea: a wedding announcement would’ve likely been made in the newspaper shortly after the ceremony. So, she asked a librarian to search the digitized newspaper archive for wedding announcements the week after 6/25/66.
Then, a breakthrough:
“She found a brief item, 13 lines, in the Sunday, June 26, 1966, edition of the paper,” Swindler reported.
“Announcing the marriage of Janice Margaret Biehler to Dean Arthur Anderson.”
They found the couple, now much older and living in Gresham.
They called and found Janice on the other line. They asked her if she or her husband had ever lost a wedding ring—she couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
“Oh yes,” she replied. “Many years ago.”
46 years ago, to be exact—thanks to a game of football.
Jan and Dean met when they were 15 and 17, respectively, through their church youth group. A few years later, they were buying wedding rings—Dean’s cost about $35.
“It wasn’t very expensive, I remember that,” he told The Oregonian. “We were broke, and she was still going to school.”
But five years after their marriage, he was devastated when he thought that ring was gone for good.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he told KGW. “I lost it playing football in a guy’s backyard.”
They searched everywhere with metal detectors, but to no avail. Dean had lost hope and assumed the wedding band was gone for good. Jan and Dean have been married for over 50 years, but Dean has gone without a ring for nearly the whole time.
“We couldn’t afford to do anything about it at the time so just didn’t replace it,” Dean said.
Then it showed up nearly 46 years later—about a mile from where he first lost it.
No one can explain what happened to the ring over those few decades, or how it traveled a mile from the friend’s yard in Aloha to the park.
“You know, raccoons love shiny little objects,” Jan suggested.
But whatever brought the ring to be underneath that pavement, they couple is glad that it found its way back to them eventually, thanks to the kindness of some thoughtful strangers.
“It was meant to be,” Dean explained to KGW. “That’s fate, right?”
He put the ring on right away—and it still fit perfectly.
“It’s right where it should be.”
Watch the video below: