He had no idea whose it was. All he knew was that it was a 1977 high school class ring designed for a man. On the ring were the words "Farmington High" and a set of initials. He had no idea what to do with the seemingly misplaced trinket, so, naturally, he tucked it away thinking he would find out whose ring it was a little bit later.
That was 25 years ago.
"It's been a while," McGee, 71, said from his Pasadena home on Monday.
McGee has held onto the treasure since finding it, though really he has just wanted to get rid of it ever since he discovered it.
Several times he has tried to figure out its origins, though his curiosity never got him very far. He would take the ring out, follow a hunch, and put the ring aside — only to rediscover it, again, on a shelf, in a box, or under a pile of miscellaneous items.
"I thought, there's that daggun ring again," McGee said. "And, then, I would put it away, and I'd run across this ring again. I said, There's that daggun ring again.'"
Time and again, he tried to figure out what to do with it.
"I had never heard of Farmington," said McGee, who found that there are a number of towns named Farmington in the United States.
Most recently, he found out about Farmington, N.M., a town more than 1,000 miles away from his home in southern Texas.
Indeed, Farmington High School may just be the origin of the ring in question. The ring not only shares the local mascot, but it also has a touch of the school's distinct Kelly Green color. Embedded is a little green gem, along with shield and balance symbols, McGee said.
"I have been working on this for a long time," he said, adding that he contacted the school administration in May, in hopes of working with the school. He never heard back.
Farmington High School Administrative Assistant Laurie Jordan said she would be happy to assist McGee in his quest for the ring's owner, as misplaced class rings are not that uncommon.
Farmington High School this year already has gathered quite a collection of lost class rings.
"I have a drawer of about four right here," Jordan said, noting that she currently has rings from 1967, 1979, 1982, and 1997 in her possession. "Some of them have names or initials, and some don't."
When the school takes in rings, they try searching for the owners several ways, sometimes using Facebook and other social media if it is more recent.
"Often, we'll go back through old yearbooks and look for seniors. And, then we pull up their transcripts because they have their old addresses. It's detective work," Jordan said. "Sometimes we'll get lucky, sometimes we won't."
Most recently, a man found a class ring in his grass while mowing the lawn. He gave the ring to the school, whose staff found the parents of the ring's owner. The parents were ecstatic to have the ring, as their son, the owner, had passed away.
"They didn't even know (their son) had a class ring," Jordan said. "It's pretty amazing."
Jordan said she will gladly help McGee find the 1977 ring's owner. If anyone can identify the initials on the ring, McGee said he will send the ring to the owner without charge.
"I'm sure the owner would like it back," McGee said.