Jack Ringheim says it’s good to be alive, a day after media outlets including CHEK News quoted a Victoria Police report saying he was dead.
“I feel fine, I really do,” he said with a laugh Saturday.
“We had a bit of a shock when we had a phone call from our friend in Chemainus who phoned to say that she’d heard … that I’d died years ago.”
Jack, 87, and his wife Audrey, 84, were home at their Victoria apartment Friday, when their friend was watching CHEK News at Six and saw a report based on a release from Victoria Police asking for help locating the owners of a box of photos and memorabilia that had been found by security at the Royal BC Museum in May.
“The items include a teapot, a Masonic apron, and a series of photographs of diving and a sports team from Slocan, B.C. from early in the 20th century,” said the police statement. “Of particular note is a mark indicating at least one item belonged to Jack Ringheim of Chemainus, B.C. Inquiries there revealed that Mr. Ringheim passed away several years ago, and efforts to locate members of his family have been unsuccessful.
Ringheim took the news of his demise in stride when he saw the report on CHEK News at 10.
“I just thought it was a mistake to start with and figured well OK I’ve seen these mistakes happen before, it’s no big deal,” he said.
But what surprised the couple was seeing the items, which belonged to Audrey’s father, that the family didn’t even know were missing.
“It’s his Masonic apron which I’ve kept, and he would be 116 if he were living now,” said Audrey.
The couple says they moved to Victoria from Chemainus 40 years ago, and had planned to take the photos and Masonic apron to a musuem in Slocan later this month when they planned to travel to the area for a family reunion.
The box containing the items had been in storage with their son. Their best guess is that it went missing during a garage sale earlier this year.
The couple’s daughter Ann Ringheim says the teapot, which has a matching sugar cup and creamer, belonged to her great-great-grandmother. She’s been in touch with police to get everything back.
“Through sort of the shock of hearing dad died, the fact all this stuff was found [when] we didn’t even realize it was gone is fabulous, so we’re really thankful for that,” she said.
The Ringheims are a bit baffled why police said they’d made efforts to find them when the entire family, including Jack and Audrey, are listed in the phone book. Victoria police say it was someone at the Chemainus Masonic Lodge who had told them Ringheim had died, but aren’t sure why investigators didn’t call the listed numbers as part of the locate the family.
Still, police said they’re happy to be able to return the heirlooms.
And the Ringheims will be happy to have them back.
“It will be nice to get it explained and over with, but nice to get everything back,” said Jack. “And to assure all my friends that I’m hale and hearty and still golfing up a storm.”