Class ring returned after 60-years

Published 07/30 2013 03:36PM

Updated 07/30 2013 03:41PM

MATTOON -- The story seemed too good to be true, until the special delivery finally arrived. Dick Diedrich graduated high school more than 60-years ago, but a small token of his achievement disappeared days before he got his diploma. WCIA-3's Jeff Wagner has more.

With more than a half-century passing by, Diedrich thought he'd never see his class ring again. But, thanks to a man hundreds of miles away, it's now back where it belongs.

"I was a little younger then."

The year was 1948. Dick Diedrich was the football star at J. Sterling Morton High School in the Chicago suburbs. Doris was his high school sweetheart.

"We married and we recently celebrated our 60th anniversary together."

But, before they exchanged vows, the couple swapped class rings.

"One day she was in the biology class dissecting frogs and when she got done, she went to the washroom to clean up and took the ring off."

When Doris turned back around, the ring was gone.

"That's how it was lost and it has now shown up some 60+ years later."

That's all thanks to Mike Gieger.

"By the sound of it, there was a good chance it was gold."

Gieger was used a metal detector at a lake in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He found the ring in the water about 100 miles away from where it was lost.

"He said, 'I have a piece of jewelry that I have found and it you can identify it, I'd like to return it to you.' And I said, 'the only jewelry I could think back to would be that class ring.'"

Sure enough, it was his.

"The fact that I was able to find them, and the fact that they're still together, it's pretty cool. So, I think it means a lot to them."

"I'm sure we're going to enjoy probably encasing it. I'm not sure it will fit on my finger anymore."

Diedrich says the best part about the story is Gieger's effort to return the ring. Gieger contacted the high school, then the alumni association, and called two people with Diedrich's initials. The first man hung up on him, but not Diedrich.

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