“After a few weeks, I just figured it was gone forever,” Judy Lingle said.
Not forever—just 37 years.
Lingle (’75) was Judy Leverich, a college sophomore, when her senior ring from College Park High School in Pleasant Hill, California, disappeared during a performance by Maranatha’s Madrigal and Handbell Choir in 1973. The group was preparing to minister at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Milwaukee when director Thelma Cedarholm reminded the female students that they were not to wear rings, watches, etc., while singing. Leverich handed her ring to Dave Lingle (’77), her boyfriend who would later become her husband.
“I don’t remember exactly what happened that night, but it may have fallen out of my pants pocket when we were changing clothes,” Dave Lingle said.
“Dave felt so bad about losing my high school ring that he eventually bought me a college ring,” Judy Lingle said.
Church members Arthur and Levina Kamentz had volunteered to clean the church the next day. They found the ring, but were not sure of being able to identify the owner from the many people who had visited the church the previous night.
“We didn’t have the Internet or easy access to communication in those days,” Levina Kamentz recalled. “And, if money was tight, you didn’t make long-distance phone calls.”
Kamentz put the ring into her jewelry box, where it remained until she began reading the book of Titus in March of 2011.
“I saw frequent exhortations to be diligent in doing good works,” said Kamentz, who now lives in Frankfort, Kentucky. “I asked the Lord what particular good work he was prompting me to do this time. He brought a couple things to mind, including the lost ring safely stored in my jewelry box.”
She had long suspected the ring might have belonged to a Maranatha student. Kamentz put the ring into a box, along with a letter of explanation, and mailed it to the College.
Alumni Services Administrative Assistant Brynley Dean (’10) began the detective work soon after the package arrived and received assistance from Admissions Administrative Assistant Donna Hibbs (’77) and other Admission staff. They noticed the initials “JEL” carved inside the ring. Dean noted that only two 1971 high school graduates would have been part of a traveling group in 1973—Judy Leverich and Joy Love (’74). Hibbs knew that Love was from Michigan and Leverich from California. A photo in the yearbook (above) showed Leverich playing the flute—and wearing the ring.
A visit with Dave Lingle, now Campus Stores Manager, confirmed their suspicions. By that afternoon, the ring was back on Judy Lingle’s finger.
“Luckily, I don’t weigh much more now than I did then,” Judy said. “It fits. Since I haven’t had it for 37 years, I’m going to wear it for a while.”
Kamentz was pleased to hear that her good work had brought good results.
“To me, this is a confirmation that God was telling me to do it,” Kamentz said.