By Dianne Frances D. Powell
CNHI News Service
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — A graduate of Rose Polytechnic Institute (now Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) in Terre Haute, Ind. will soon be reunited with a class ring he lost three decades ago after it was found at a New York junk yard.
And the story of this ring — lost and found — crosses state lines.
Last month, Eric Sperger of Saranac Lake, N.Y., contacted Rose-Hulman’s Alumni Affairs via email and told the office that he found a ring with the Institute’s name, the initials “CMK” and the year 1969.
“I thought there was a good chance we could find the owner,” Sperger said.
“I just thought it was the right thing to do,” he added.
With these clues, Jim Bertoli, executive director of Alumni Affairs at Rose-Hulman said he did a search on the alumni database and found a match.
There is only one person with the initials “CMK” who graduated in 1969: It was Charles M. Kruse.
Bertoli said it was nice “being the bearer of good news” when he contacted Kruse about the ring using the information in the alumni database.
“The fun thing about this job is reconnecting people,” he said.
Kruse, who now lives in Dayton, Ohio, said he “was very much surprised to hear about it.”
He said he was not entirely sure how he lost the ring...or where. But he has some ideas.
One of them is the possibility of losing it at a local YMCA in upstate New York. Kruse said he lived in Ithaca, NY in the mid-70s, around the same time he lost the ring.
This possibility seem to match up with Sperger’s story about how the ring came into his possession.
Sperger said the class ring was among items that his 72-year-old father-in-law, who operated a junk yard 10 miles South of Ithaca, NY, asked him to sell or discard.
He spoke of how his father-in-law often found personal items while cleaning out the junked cars he bought, and has collected them over the years. The business closed its doors in the mid-90s.
The ring “somehow ended up in a junked car,” Sperger said.
He added that he is “almost 100% sure” that’s how his father-in-law found the ring.
Regardless of the details, Kruse is just happy to have his ring back.
It was a “special memento” from the school, one he paid for himself.
“Obviously, Rose is an important part of my life,” said Kruse, who attended Rose Polytechnic Institute in 1965-1969 and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics.
So important that he uses his year of graduation and the school’s initials “RPI” as part of his e-mail address.
Kruse credits the degree he received from the school for the “comfortable lifestyle” he enjoys.
After speaking with Kruse, Bertoli said he thinks “Chuck is very proud of the fact that he is a graduate of Rose.”
Bertoli said the ring will be sent to Kruse via certified mail.
Kruse is looking forward to having it back after all these years.
“Hopefully it will fit,” he said.
Story provided by The Terre Haute Tribune-Star.