Class Ring Lost In 1979 Returned After 31 Years

Aurora Grad Lost Ring On Lookout Mountain

In 1979, Jay Runyan was fresh out of high school and, like many recent graduates at the time, he was having some fun at a popular 3.2 bar on Lookout Mountain.

It was the last time he would see his high school ring for 31 years.

Runyan, now 49, graduated from Aurora Central High School in 1978.

At that time it was legal in Colorado for anyone over 18 to drink in bars that sold beer with 3.2 percent alcohol.

A popular spot was Sam's on Lookout Mountain.

"It was a typical 70's night," said Runyan when asked to describe how he lost the ring. "The details may be a little fuzzy."

The owners of Sam's (now Crystal Rose) told 7NEWS, an employee found the ring while cleaning up for the night.

That was 1979.

Since then Jay and Sharyl Byerly have been trying, on and off, to find the owner.

"Where do you track somebody like this down?" said Jay Byerly. "You'd forget about it for a year or so and then you came back. This is 30 years trying to track down the owner."

The Byerly's tried contacting the school and alumni associations. The only thing they had to go on were initials engraved inside the band - J.H.R.

Eventually the couple learned the initials were for Jay H. Runyan, but from there the trail in Colorado went cold.

That's when they called 7NEWS.

The CALL7 Investigators were able to find Runyan living just outside of Anchorage, Alaska.

"I was pretty stunned. It's been missing 31 years and I never expected to see it again. Haven't even thought about it. It's pretty amazing," said Runyan in an interview with the ABC Alaska News.

The Byerly's packed up the ring and shipped it to Runyan.

"Wow, that's pretty. I forgot it looked that good," said Runyan, holding his class ring for the first time in more than three decades.

"I've never seen his ring before," said Runyan's wife, Patricia who is also a graduate of Aurora Central High.

Turning the ring in his hand Runyan said, "I think it's pretty neat. I'm pretty excited. It's pretty cool."

The ring is gold colored with a green stone. On one side is a baseball diamond - Runyan played catcher - on the other side the symbol for the Aurora Central Trojans.

He said he was very grateful to the Byerly's for taking care of his ring for so long and for getting it back to him.

"I lost my dad two years ago. Small things like this, to be able to hand down to your family after you're gone, are really important. We've noticed that since we've lost our parents," said Runyan. "I really appreciate the people taking the time to do this for me, so I can do that.