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Class ring lost back in 1976 returned to owner 45 years later

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 4:44 PM CDT
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DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - Forty-five years after he lost his high school class ring while attending St. Norbert College in De Pere, a man now living in California man has the hardware back on his hand.

It was late last month when Mike Counter, the director of media relations at St. Norbert College, an avid metal detector, was detecting, with permission from the college, near the banks of the Fox River behind Bergstrom Hall. Counter unearthed a 1976 Holy Cross High School class ring 4 to 5 inches underground.

“I’ve been detecting for over 30 years, and I never found a class ring, never. And I’ve always wanted to find one, and I thought finally I found a class ring,” says Counter.

Once he discovered the ring, Counter knew he wanted to find the owner. He enlisted help of coworker Andy Caldie, a researcher at St. Norbert College. As Caldie found out, the Holy Cross on the ring had merged with another Catholic school which had closed within the past year. A little more research led him to the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in Indiana.

According to Caldie, “I realized there’s no way I can solve it, I’m going to need help from whoever has the Holy Cross records and so I was really crossing my fingers when I emailed Sister Jean that she would either know the answer or know the person who had the answer and kind of go from there.”

Sister Jean came through, tracking down a man named John Daciolas, a 1976 graduate of Holy Cross High School. She sent him an email.

“Finished reading it, did you lose your class ring? And I’m like, oh my gosh, my heart stopped, I was overjoyed, yes! I remember exactly where I was and when I did it,” Daciolas says about that email.

Counter then connected with Daciolas and mailed the ring to him. It arrived just days ago and it still fits. “I was so thrilled and so excited to see it. Brought back just a flood of memories,” says Daciolas.

After missing the ring for the past 45 years, Daciolas says he might never take it off, adding, “I’m just so thankful and I’m glad to be reunited, and it warms my heart that I’ve got a couple of guys and Sister Jean who don’t know me from Adam and went out of their way to track me down.”

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