In all the years Ron and Rose Marie Reynolds have lived in the Waupaca area, they had never heard the story about the class ring his godson lost years ago in Shadow Lake.
That was until earlier this fall – when the story came up at a funeral as family members remarked how often they had visited Waupaca when they were younger and about the day the class ring went missing.
“How come I didn’t know about that?” Rose Marie asked.
The story dates back to 1966.
Ron’s godson, Dan Maloney, had just graduated from Premontre High School in Green Bay.
During the summer, Maloney and his family used to go to Waupaca’s South Park on just about every Sunday.
“I only had had the ring about three weeks,” Maloney said. “Actually, the ring was just a little bit too big for me.”
On that Sunday in June, he went off the high dive.
When he came out of the water, he discovered his class ring had come off of his finger.
He felt sick to his stomach.
Maloney said he was never a big jewelry person and should have taken the ring off before he went swimming.
“I tried to go back down to find it,” he said. “It was over 20 feet deep as best as I could tell and mucky. I completely forget about the ring. Thirty-seven years later, I got a call from a gentleman.”
A couple from Appleton came across the ring years later when they were diving in the lake.
The woman ended up misplacing the ring in their home, only to find it two years later.
In a conversation with a man who researched Vietnam vets, the woman mentioned the ring.
He agreed to see if he could find out whose ring it was.
The ring said “Premontre Cadets” on it and also had Maloney’s initials – DJM – on it, as well as the year he graduated from the school.
The researcher searched the school’s archives, where he found there were two Dan Maloneys at the school at the same time.
He contacted Maloney’s mother, Carol (Ron’s cousin), and asked her if she had a son with those initials.
Next, he called Maloney, who was living in Alaska at the time.
“I said, ‘I don’t want to lose it again. Please don’t mail it to me. Give it to my mom,’” Maloney recalled.
Several years later, when he was back home in Green Bay, he got his class ring back.
It still looked new.
“I still wear it quite frequently,” said Maloney, who is retired.
For the Reynolds, who have lived on the Chain O’ Lakes since 1991, hearing the story was a surprise and one they wanted to share with others.
Maloney no longer remembers the name of the man who contacted him or the couple who found his ring but said, “It’s quite the story when you think about it – a lake so big, and they found it close to where I lost it.”