Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Lost Wedding Ring

by Gray

This is my wedding ring.  When Marie and I became engaged, we wanted a unique, custom design of our own.  When set out to find someone to make them, we first asked an artist couple from our church.  The husband once ran a highly-regarded studio, and suggested one of his former students to us.

A Ring Maker and a Teller of True Stories
His name was Howard DuFour.  We went to visit him in New Carlisle, Ohio.  New Carlisle is a charming old town, where its history is carefully guarded.  Howard’s home was a distinctive 19th century white wood frame house.  Howard himself was a delight, an older gentleman, a keen mind, and full of engaging stories. 

True story 1:  As we stood in front, he pointed to his house – “after it was built, there was never a four-letter word uttered in it by the first residents.  Now take a good look at the house.  What do you see?”  He was being playful with us, inviting us to think, and had given us a couple clues... Then he motioned to the pointed windows on the second storey, and gave us the answer: “See the churchy-looking windows?  (The windows come together to a point at the top.) The house served a small country church across the street.  It was originally a Parsonage.” 

He then invited us inside to see his work area.  We entered the living room, and walked upstairs, through his and his wife’s bedroom to a small attached sunroom.  He had a worktable pressed against the wall, looking out the window.  This was his shop. 

True story 2: He led into another story about a different goldsmith with his own tiny shop. The old goldsmith retired after many years, and moved out.  Wisely, the new owners tore up the carpet and wooden flooring and burned it all.  Then he quizzed us: So why was it wise?  He smiled and answered “Tiny gold flecks and shavings had fallen into the rug fibers and wood crevices over those years.  They recovered it and sold the gold for over a million dollars.”

A keen mind indeed. We were easily enamored of Howard, and looked forward to his workmanship.

The Rings Get Put to Use
A few weeks later, the rings arrived.  Beautiful!

On August 12, 1978, Marie and I were wed, we exchanged those rings, each of us committed to wear them for the rest of our lives.  

Marie and Gray exchanging rings.  August 12, 1978

Except for a problem...They were a little loose.

This was not a good fit to everyday life.  If I shook my hand a certain way, the ring would fly off.  Increasingly, I would decide to remove the ring.  When working on the car, or cutting the grass, I would hang them on a cup hook behind the mirror-case in the bathroom.  I’d often leave the sliding panel a little open. Marie would see that ring hanging on a hook instead of on my finger.  When I showered, the ring would hang on it – if dropped, the tub drain in our old place was large enough to swallow it. If I would go out camping or backpacking, the ring would stay home because I wouldn’t want to drop it somewhere in the deep woods. 

Whatever my reasons for doing this, it was our first year of marriage, and this ring business evolved into a touchy issue.  Finally, one week-end at home, my wife looked at my naked hands and confronted me with: “Why aren’t you wearing your wedding ring?”  Then I was reminded by my wife on an important perspective.  The ring was meant to be worn all the time.  She was right.

In response, I wrapped some white medical bandaging tape onto the ring to make the opening narrower.  That did the trick. I stopped removing the ring, and it wasn't much of an issue anymore.

Then Came Wonderful News
In May, 1979, on Mother’s Day, Marie first suspected she was pregnant. It was true! We thought through a number of names and had settled on two: 

If a boy, his name will be Micah.

If a girl, her name will be Sarita. 

Bad News – Ring goes missing
Then one Summer day, Marie was unhappy and upset.  “Gray, I’ve lost my ring!”  She had looked at her hand, and realized it was gone.  She had no idea how it was lost. We scoured the house in all the usual places: among the seat cushions, the trash cans, behind furniture, in dishes and kitchen utensils – anyplace one would imagine a loose ring might somehow fly or fall from a person’s hand. We found nothing.

So what do we do now? Get another ring?  Marie did not want to do that.  A prayer to Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost items?  Many in Marie’s family did exactly that. 

Weeks passed, then months.  Still no ring.

We ask the Psychic
My sales job required me to drive a lot of distance, so the car radio would be on a lot.   I stumbled onto a regular call-in program on WLW radio that featured a psychic known as David Hoy.  He really seemed to be on to something.  One had called in about a missing item.  The excited responses from the live callers were riveting.  At the end of the program, radio listeners were invited to send in questions for a small fee, and he would do individual psychic readings. 

I told Marie.  We really weren’t into psychics, and doubtful.  But we’ve tried so many things, and it had been months since we lost the ring.  It would be so good if she could be wearing it while the baby is born.

So this was no small decision for us: The Hoy organization mailed to us the sign-up info on David Hoy, then we sent in $25 for an answer to a simple question:  Where do we look for the wedding ring? 

The reply arrived in a couple weeks.

Dear Gray and Marie,

I have concentrated on your question and have gotten this image.  I believe that Marie lost her ring somehow while she was undressing, and that it had fallen into a boot or a shoe.  I feel very strongly about this, and would appreciate it if you let me know if you had found the ring upon receiving this letter.” 

ESPecially yours,

Dr. David Hoy

This was great!  Marie had dress boots, including some that she might not have worn over the summer.  We dug through each pair.   And …weeks later, we were still looking through the boots and shoes, and shoeboxes and anything that might be near them. 

On August 12, 1979, Marie and I celebrated our first anniversary.  We went to Joe's Fish house for dinner, and later visited with Marie's parents to enjoy the top layer of our wedding cake.

On our first anniversary, Marie was five months pregnant, and no wedding ring

The baby is coming and we stop looking 
Winter came, then January.  Marie’s due date approached, and we had shifted the focus to the important topic of her pregnancy.  Many an evening was spent on the couch, with Marie or me reading literature about a baby stuff: pregnancy, birthing, prenatal care, infant care, and more: there are plenty of questions from first time parents.

One evening, January 31, 1980 to be exact, as I sat next to her, Marie said, “I don’t feel like reading tonight.  I am going to catch up with some knitting.”  She dumped out the contents of a white paper bag of yarn, knitting needles and a pattern – and something else.  It glistened.  She said excitedly, "Could it be? It is! My ring!"

We hugged. Sort of. Marie was practically dancing.   

The next evening, she went into labor.

The following morning, February 2, 1980, our first child was born.

The baby’s name is Sarita.

As seen in the delivery room: Mom, newborn baby girl Sarita and wedding ring.



1.      The Goldsmith who worked on the Manhattan Project
A few weeks later, we paid a visit to Howard.  He seemed embarassed by our story, and quickly agreed to resize the rings.  He called it an easy job and, of course, no charge.  If you look closely in the first image, you can see the join mark.

January, 2011.  I did a internet search on his name to make sure of the spelling, and found this biography of this amazing man.  In our short visits, we only heard two true stories; it turned out that he had many more.

News Death Notice
DUFOUR, Howard R. 94, of New Carlisle, Ohio passed away Sunday December 13, 2009. He was born January 10, 1915 in Connersville, Indiana the son of the late Lawrence & Fern (Bush) DuFour. He worked on the Manhattan Project in Chicago and was instrumental in developing the Atomic Bomb. He also authored a book with Peter Unit on Charles E. Taylor the (Wright Brothers Mechanician). Building the 1903 Wright Flyer for Wright State University was a lifelong dream fulfilled for Howard. In the years following the building of the flyer, Howard continued to amaze everyone with his energy, ability with tools, and love of life. He and his dedicated group of volunteers built three Wright gliders after the 1903 flyer. He also found time to travel around the country teaching people about Charlie Taylor, a man who possessed qualities that he loved best and had himself: curiosity, ingenuity, and an inventive spirit. Howard DuFour never met a stranger. He greeted everyone with a hug and became their friend after the first hello. He was a member and High Priest at the Church of Latter Day Saints, Huber Heights, OH. He was a retired master machinist from Monsanto and created the DuFour Machine Shop at Wright State University. He is survived by a son, Larry (Karen) DuFour of North Carolina; daughter, Jenny (Chuck) Clevell of New Carlisle; grandchildren, Lorrie DuFour, Kevin & Jason Dufour, Kurt Hodge & Ami Holbrook; six great grandchildren; and great great grandchildren; and many friends. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his wives, Opal Marie & Ruth Elizabeth. Howard's wish was for a graveside service only which will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday December 17, 2009 at New Carlisle Cemetery. Arrangements by the TROSTEL, CHAPMAN, DUNBAR & FRALEY FUNERAL HOME, New Carlisle, Ohio, 11545 Musselman Rd.. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Wright State University Archives. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to

2.      The Psychic
In our case, David Hoy’s response seems off-the-mark. Or was it? His reply DID give us hope, and diverted us from a decision to get a replacement ring.

From MagicPedia:
"Dr. Faust / David Hoy (1930- April 2, 1981) Hoy was an ordained minister who started out using magic to illustrate concepts in the bible. After leaving the ministry he moved on to performing mentalism as Dr. Faust. He invented many clever and original mental effects, many using very bold tactics (like tossing a force deck out to the audience to peek at a card). Later in life, he represented himself as a genuine psychic, relying on institutions and perceptions. He claimed to use extrasensory perceptions helped him locate everything from lost rings to runaway children. He also made predictions for a weekly column that appeared in 340 newspapers."

The Saint

St. Anthony of Padua is venerated all over the world as the Patron Saint for lost articles, and is credited with many miracles involving lost people, lost things and even lost spiritual goods.