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A state beach story with a nice ring to it

Monday, October 29th, 2012 | Posted by


BY CHRIS SMITH/The Press Democrat

An honest someone found a class ring on a Bodega Bay beach about four years ago and turned it in. No one came to claim it.

The ring.

At the Duncans Mills district office of the state Department of Parks and Recreation, Liz Beale recently took the ring out of a secured locker and out of its envelope, and studied it.

There isn’t the name of a school on the silver ring with a purple stone. But it bears the year 2009 and the name Gaddis. Inside were inscribed the intials JRG.

By regulation, Beale, whose responsibilities include dispatching state parks rangers and processing evidence, could have donated the unclaimed ring to a charity. But she has a child who’s a high-school senior, and she assumed the owner of the ring would dearly like to get it back.

So she mounted a search.

She phoned the company that made the ring, Jostens. A helpful woman there took down all the details Beale would provide, did some research and came up with some key information.

Jostens had created the ring for one Jonathan Gaddis, an ’09 graduate of Karns High School in Knoxville, Tenn.

Beale went onto Facebook and looked for the right Jonathan Gaddis.

Bingo. There was one who attended Karns High and then the University of Tennessee. And according to his Facebook profile of Jonathan Royal Gaddis he is employed as a deli clerk at a Safeway — in Windsor, Calif.

Beale phoned the supermarket and though Gaddis wasn’t there at the moment,  they did later connect. Beale arranged to meet him and returned his class ring.

“I can’t believe she went to all that effort. It’s incredibly nice,” said Gaddis, a Tennessean who’s 21 and staying and working in Sonoma County for a while because his mother lives here.

He said he lost that ring at the beach while he visiting his mom during a high-school break, and he was sure he’d never see it again.

He was thrilled to get it back and to be able to meet Liz Beale. He wasn’t surprised when Beale asked him if he’s related to Sonoma County’s deep-rooted Gaddis Nursery Gaddises. He’s not.

“A lot of people ask me that question,” he said.


  • Mary Jo Winter

    Just when you think the world is going to hell in a hand basket – poof! – you read something like this. Nice story, Chris.

    • natasha

      Liz Baile is a very pleasant person who makes the Duncan’s Mills office hum!

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