Forty years after it went missing, a class ring has been reunited with its owner.
Michelle Barnard Sensburg, White Bear Lake High School Class of ’73, lost the ring at Ramsey County beach in 1980. Its journey from there remains a bit of a mystery, but the ring is back in her hands now thanks to a message on social media.
A Girl Scout leader at the time, Barnard Sensburg was on a merit badge outing with the girls, accompanied by her mother Louise, when they stopped at the park. That's when she noticed her ring was gone. "I was devastated," recalled Barnard Sensburg, who lives in Oakdale with her husband.
The lost ring was discovered by a woman cleaning out her childhood home in White Bear Lake after her father died. Inside were the initials MJB. It was in a box with coins and other trinkets forgotten in a bedroom closet.
The woman, Tania (O'Connor) Kleckner, told Barnard Sensburg she had no idea how her dad acquired the ring, but speculated that he either found it on the beach or at a garage sale.
"It's possible he forgot he had it or wasn't sure how to find the rightful owner," Kleckner said.
A 1979 Mariner High School grad, she searched Facebook to see if the ’73 class, like her class, had a social media page. It did, so she sent a message to administrator Char Phillips Downing saying she had a ring. Downing called the first person who came to mind: her friend Michelle Barnard Sensburg.
"We were hoping, in the small chance, that her middle initial was J," Downing said. "Sure enough, her middle name is Jeanne. I asked her the color of the stone and she said 'blue.'" It was a match.
Not only is Sensburg "amazed and thrilled" to have her ring back, but there is more good news. "It's too big," she joked. After hip surgery, Sensburg explained that she started exercising and has lost 80 pounds.
For her part, Kleckner said she's happy the ring is back with its rightful owner. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, but returns to White Bear Lake often to visit family. "While I was there a few weeks ago, my siblings and I decided to start cleaning out the house and found the ring. My dad, George O'Connor, grew up in White Bear. He loved to sail, and I suspect he could have found the ring putting in his boat. He also loved to garage sale."
Sensburg wants the family to know she is grateful they reached out to find her. "Without Tania, there would be no happy story," she said.