Kentucky man returns class ring to owner after being lost for nearly 30 years

Published 10:32 am Saturday, March 13, 2021

Gordon Lee Smith’s grandfather quit school in the third grade to farm tobacco in Ohio County.

His own father never finished high school and lied about his age to enlist in the military during World War II.

So when Smith, now 52, became the first man in the family to graduate from high school in 1987, his family was proud. His father was so pleased he spent $125 to buy him a Bullitt Central High School ring.

When Smith lost it back in 1992, he didn’t have the heart to tell his father it was gone.

But as I watched him slip it on his finger for the first time in 29 years, I could tell in his eyes that he was smiling behind his mask.

After all, it’s been missing for more than half his life, and he thought it was gone for good.

Truly, it might have been, if Rex Moorman hadn’t picked it up.

Moorman, who grew up in Louisville but now lives in Breckinridge County, has been keeping the ring safe for nearly three decades. He doesn’t remember quite where he found it, but he suspects he picked it up one night on the side of the road when his motorcycle broke down.

In nearly 30 years, the details have gotten a bit flimsy for Moorman.

He remembers calling Bullitt Central to see if they could help him track down the “Gordon Lee Smith” whose name was engraved inside. That didn’t work.

At one point he flipped through a phone book, too, but with a last name like “Smith,” there wasn’t much those pages could do. Not to mention Moorman lived in Jefferson County, and Smith wouldn’t have been listed in his phone book anyway.

So instead, the ring sat in his dresser drawer untouched for years, and he always hoped eventually he might find a way to get it back to its owner.