Grossmont High School class ring lost for more than 40 years returned to owner

Facebook connected two families to return ring

SAN DIEGO - A class ring lost for 40 years is back with its rightful owner thanks to persistence and the power of social media.

In 1952, 17-year-old Shirley Moree Wright graduated from Grossmont High School. She proudly wore her class ring until it was lost, seemingly forever.

Forty years ago, 8-year-old Dodie Compton was on a trip to the Colorado River near Yuma, Ariz., when she found a ring by the river. At that point, her mother tried to find the ring's owner.

"We put signs up at the store. Nothing ever came of it and every few years, we got home and put it in the newspaper. Nothing ever came about," Compton said.

Years passed and Compton's family, who lived in Lakeside, eventually moved. However, the story of the class ring was never forgotten.

"It stayed in my mom's jewelry box all these years. As little girls, you go through your mom's makeup or your mom's jewelry and she'd pull the ring out," Compton said, who now lives in Washington state. "We'd ask her the story again and again."

Compton's mother, Leta Carter, wanted so desperately to find the owner. When she died seven years ago, Compton took over the search.

Compton contacted Grossmont High and eventually learned the initials SMW on the ring stood for Shirley Moree Wright.

She went on Facebook in hopes of finding the owner, and post after post led to strangers reposting, and finally, an answer.

"I was just shocked; I could not believe what I was hearing," said Leanna Wagner, Wright's daughter.

Wagner, who lives in Fresno, said her mother passed away in 2000.

"I just wished that both of our moms could have been here so that maybe they could have talked," Wagner said.

"It's part of our history; just to be able to give this piece back to them, that's worth more than all the gold in the world," said Compton.

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