Lost class ring found 65 years later, 700 miles away

    9:41 AM, Aug 1, 2013   |    comments
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    UNDATED (CBS) -- A couple in Illinois thought they lost a ring with enormous sentimental value forever. But now it's back, thanks to the kindness of a stranger after 65 years, and a 700 mile journey.

    Mike Geiger likes to find things. As often as five times a week, he goes out with his metal detector to comb the paths and waterways of Wisconsin in the wee hours of the morning. He says, "I got coins from the mid-1800s, I've got jewelry from the mid-1800s."

    But last week, while jet-skiing on Lake Tomahawk, he stumbled upon what he calls, his biggest find yet, beneath 5 feet of water. He says, "I knew right away it was a class ring. I knew it was old just because of the style."

    It was also inscribed with the initials RD, a critical clue to the ring's owner. Geiger says, "I know that the school has the ability to look back in the records and find the RD's in the class of 49."

    He was given the phone numbers of three RD's. The first one hung up on him. The second one was 82 year old Richard "Dick" Diedrich. Geiger says, "I explained to him that I had a ring that I thought might be his."

    Diedrich says, "And my first reaction was, 'Well you've got to be kidding.' I've never been in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where he identified as being from."

    Waukesha where Geiger lives, is a two hour drive north of Cicero, Illinois, where Diedrich grew up and graduated from J. Sterling Morton High School. When the ring vanished 65 years ago, Dick's high school sweetheart Doris Tyle was wearing it. Diedrich says, "We decided it might be nice that I wore her ring and she wore mine." Doris adds, "I had gone into the girls wash room to wash my hands. So I took the ring off. When I turned around it was gone."

    Stolen was more like it, and then somehow ended up on the bottom of a Wisconsin lake some 350 miles away. Doris says, "I never dreamt I'd get it back. That's been a real surprise and pleasure."

    A pleasure because the ring isn't just a reminder of their high school days, but a symbol of enduring love, that's produced three kids and two grandchildren. That's Right, Dick and Doris have been married now for 60 years. Dick says laughing, "We sometimes take votes about whether there's going to be one more."

    As for Mike Geiger, no monetary reward is necessary. He says, "It's just kind of neat that I know that I gave that whole family a big piece of happiness."

    Doris says, "I have learned there are some wonderful people out in the world who are willing to go out of their way to do good things."

    Proving that finders aren't always keepers, and the losers are sometimes the biggest winners of all.

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