Last week’s Courier issue featured a story from the Courier’s archives dated 9/30/1921, where a gentleman by the name of John Rusko, who on the night before his marriage, had to postpone the wedding because of the theft of his bride-to-be’s wedding ring.  The story ended with this quote from John Rusko, “They might as well have taken the marriage license too.  It will do me no good now for another year.”
 
I checked the Courier’s archives to see if there had been a follow-up article that would bring the story to some kind of conclusion.  Did they catch the thief?  Did his fiancée dump him?  Who was this fiancée?  Who was John Rusko anyway?   Not finding any answers to these questions, I decided to do my own investigating and went to Ancestry.com to see if there were any descendants who could supply the missing gaps so I could come up with how his story eventually ended.  I hate to read a story and then have it end in limbo, don't you?  So here, based on my findings, is the rest of the story.
 
Declaration of
 
 
John Rusko was born Stojan Prkacin on March 14, 1890, in Stolovi, Dubrovacko-Neretvanska, Croatia.  He emigrated to the United States in 1912, arriving at the Port of New York on March 23, 1912. He actually lied about his age in order to come aboard the ship.  He went directly to Butte and worked in the copper mines.   After having lived at 63 West Broadway in Butte, Montana for five years, he declared his intentions to become a naturalized citizen of the United States and "further requested his name be changed to John Rusko".  He was now a cook and a waiter at a restaurant, Bartter Café.   
 
Alma Edith Bato was born in Montana on March 20, 1902 to parents from Finland.  According to the 1920 census, she was 18 years old and doing kitchen work at Bartter café.  This is how the couple met, working together in the restaurant, and how their relationship eventually developed into something more than just that of co-workers. 
 
Now, back to the story that appeared in the Cascade Courier in Sept. 30, 1921.  John Rusko, the night before his marriage, “walked through the halls of the hotel, but his feet never touched the floor.  He walked in a thin atmosphere of future hopes and anxiety for the morrow to hurry its timely arrival.  He was absorbed in nothing but his plans and he knew not whither he went.  Worn out by the duties and expectations which the day had brought, he soon fell asleep.”  According to this, John Rusko was on "Cloud Nine", so to speak, not "totally there" because he was getting married to the most beautiful girl tomorrow!
 
When he wakes up, he realizes that he had left his coat and vest in the bathroom the night before. He goes to retrieve them and finds them where he left them, but, to his dismay, the diamond ring, the wedding ring, his watch and chain were gone!  It was the assumption from the ending of the story, that the items were stolen.  But there was no follow-up story anywhere to this “theft” that I could find.  It was my assumption  that maybe, just maybe, he had just misplaced them?
 
The story first appeared on September 30, but that doesn’t mean that the events happened that week.  The events could have happened a month earlier, and according to one of his descendants, the wedding was not  delayed.  When Alma found out about the ring, she told him it didn't matter and "just hugged him and covered his face with kisses". He got a "replacement ring", and John Rusko and Alma Edith Bato were married on September 17, 1921, a couple of weeks before the story was printed!  
 
Marriage Certificate
 
 
 Whether or not the ring stolen or just misplaced is irrelevant.  The fact is they were married, and their story has a “happily-ever-after ending”!  The couple moved to Watsonville, California, had two daughters, both who graduated with degrees from UCLA, and stayed married for 31 years!  He owned his own restaurant called the Theatre Café in Watsonville.  Local stories about John continued throughout his life, and everyone who knew him thought he was a great man. 
John and Alma Rusko
 
 
 
John died on April 13, 1952, at the age of 62.  Alma never remarried.  She died on November 26, 1989 at the age of 87.  
 
Editor's note:  John Rusko is currently found in 6 public family trees according to Ancestry.com.  Thanks to all his descendants who, when I reached out to them to help me with writing Part 2 of John and Alma's story, were happy to contribute their stories, documents, and photographs.  As for Alma's wedding ring, it has been passed down through the generations and is now on the hand of the wife of one of John and Alma's great-grandsons.
Almas wedding ring
 
 
References:  Archives.com
                       Ancestry.com

Ray Castellanos is the Photographer/Reporter for, as well as a co-owner of, the Cascade Courier