After 40 years of being buried in the brush of a local quarry, a class ring was returned to its rightful owner in an emotional reunion – thanks to the diligent sleuthing of a stranger.

Nancy Kennedy first found the ring at a swimming hole in Hopewell, New Jersey last week. All she knew about the ring, which had been engulfed by a tree root, was that it came from St. Hubert’s Catholic High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and had initials inscribed on the inside.

When Kennedy contacted the school and asked if they could investigate the potential owner of the ring, the effort proved unfruitful.

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She then took to Facebook with a picture of the ring and a plea for help in finding its rightful owner.

A few hundred shares later, the post was spotted by Andrea Forrester.

“Andrea Forrester contacted me when she realized it was her mother’s, Julia Patricia Walsh—St. Hubert’s Class of 1949,” says Kennedy, a former journalist. “After her marriage, she went by the name Patricia Cariola, and sadly, she died in 1987.”

Walsh had lost the ring over 40 years ago, and Forrester – who was just a child at the time – could not believe that someone had found the piece of jewelry.

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“Andrea is so grateful to have this memento of her mother,” wrote Kennedy. “As a young girl, Andrea remembers it being in her mother’s jewelry box, and she’d try it on when her mother allowed her to play with her jewelry.”

“My mother and I were best friends,” said Forrester. “It’s been 30 years this past March and I miss her every day.”

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