Volume LVIIINovember 2011Number 4

Long-Lost Masonic Ring Returns to Its Master

Bro. Jesse W. Ridgway joined King Solomon's Lodge No. 346, Connellsville, on Nov. 13, 1951, and married his wife, Dorothy, the following June. Upon being received into the Uniontown Lodge of Perfection on Nov. 7, 1952, he wanted to wear a ring to proudly display his Masonic membership. Times were tough, and he hadn't been able to afford a wedding ring for himself months before. So when he purchased his 14th degree Scottish Rite ring, he and Dorothy agreed that it meant so much to him that it could also serve as his wedding band.

"I wore it all time," Bro. Jesse said, "When it came up missing five or six years later, I thought I lost it while raking leaves, but after going through all the bags from the lawn, I gave up. I never knew what happened to it."

Bro. Jesse Ridgway shows his recovered Masonic ring to Rodney Boyce, D.D.G.M. for District 30.

At the time, Bro. Jesse and Dorothy lived next door to Dorothy's father, who had given them a plot of adjacent land to build their own home.

About 15 years ago, after Dorothy's father passed away, she sold her father's land to a young family. Her sister, Nancy, remained in her home on the adjoining property.

A few weeks ago, while Bro. Jesse was working in the garage, Nancy called with some incredible news. The family who had purchased their father's estate had begun excavating the land to build onto their house, and upon grading the dirt, their rake caught onto a ring. Since Bro. Jesse's name was inscribed inside, the neighbor asked Nancy if she might know the owner.

Could it be ... 40-some years later?

"I'm pleased to get it back after all those years. I really appreciate it," Bro. Jesse said.

Considering where the ring was found, Dorothy thinks Bro. Jesse may have lost the ring while playing ball outside with their kids. They have two sons, Mark and Bro. Gary, Woodlawn Lodge No. 672, Bridgewater, and a daughter, Nancy.

Dorothy had bought Bro. Jesse a replacement ring a few years after he lost the first one, but said while it was similar, it was not as nice as the original one. As soon as he got his old one back, he took it to the jeweler and had it cleaned. While it shows some wear, it's still in good shape and fits well. He once again wears it proudly on his left ring finger.

It was nice timing, as the Ridgways recently celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary.

At 87 years young, Bro. Jesse is a World War II veteran, having served in the Air Force when the first troops went in to invade Normandy. He goes to the wellness center three days a week and rides 20-30 miles on his bike three days a week. He also continues to actively attend lodge meetings, and is a long-term member of the Consistory, Lodge of Perfection and the Shrine. Dorothy is a member of Connellsville Chapter #245, O.E.S., having gone through the chairs years ago.

"The Lord's been good to me," Bro. Jesse said.

Indeed, He has.

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