FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — Rick Shayne Fossett loved wearing his wife's class ring.
"When Rick and I started dating, he always wore my class ring," his widow, Lola Fossett, said. "He'd say, 'I had a class ring in high school and I loved it, but I lost it.' So I said 'you can have mine,' and he wore it on his pinky. He always kept it on, all the way until he passed away."
Last week, Lola Fossett slipped Rick's class ring on her finger.
Fossett, a popular Shoals disc jockey in the 1970s who went on to gain a successful and nationally recognized reputation in radio consulting, died of lung and brain cancer in 2003.
How the 1965 Plainview High School senior ring made it to his widow is a story that started shortly after Rick Fossett graduated from the high school in the northeast Alabama town of Rainsville.
A talented musician with a great deal of musical knowledge from an early age, Rick Fossett was hired as the Ider High School band director straight out of high school. But he was drafted in 1967 and eventually was assigned to the 60th Army Band, in Fort Polk, La.
Lola Fossett, who still lives in the Shoals, said nobody in her late husband's family can recall him wearing a class ring once he joined the Army.
She wonders, since the ring was found on the beach, if he lost it in the Gulf of Mexico since he was in that region during his Army years.
"You think of all the hurricanes during that span from when he was in the Army to when it was found, and maybe it's possible," Lola Fossett said.
In 1977, Bill Haugh and his wife, Kathy Barnett Haugh, were enjoying a day on Madeira Beach, near their St. Petersburg, Fla., home, when Kathy Haugh noticed a shiny object.