Watch CBS News

Treasure Hunter Finds High School Class Ring Missing Nearly 60 Years

BOSTON (CBS) - A 77-year-old man who grew up in Southie will get his lost ring back this weekend. It's not just any ring; it went missing nearly 60 years ago.

"As soon as I saw it I really started to wonder what the story was," said Luke Berube, a hobbyist who spends most of his spare time combing the landscape with his vast array of metal detectors.

Luke Berube
Class ring found by Luke Berube in Hanson pond (WBZ-TV)

Luke's longtime hobby has been finding lost jewelry, but the chance to return a 1960 class ring to its rightful owner was something new.

"It's a whole different feeling," said Luke.

He found the ring Saturday in a Hanson pond. Not along the shoreline – he's more adventurous than that.

Luke Berube
Luke Berube (WBZ-TV)

He was scuba diving with his metal detector, in 10 feet of water, when he found it buried in the muddy bottom. Luke even recorded the moment on his underwater Go Pro camera, and his desire to learn the backstory was immediate.

"The gears started turning," Luke said, "and I'm like, 'am I finally going to be able to return one?'"

Luke Berube
Luke Berube finds class ring in Hanson pond (Courtesy image)

The ring is from the former Gate of Heaven high school in South Boston, with the initial WJW etched inside.

That sent "detective" Luke to the school's private Facebook page – where Luke got permission to post – and a friend of Christine Wadel's saw it within hours.

"So I called my Dad and said 'Dad, could this be yours?" Christine told WBZ. "And he says 'yeah.' And I said 'You lost a ring?' And he said 'Yes!'"

Indeed, it belongs to 77-year-old William Joseph Wadel. He was a teenager when he graduated from Gate of Heaven almost 60 years ago, only to have his then girlfriend lose the ring a year or two later.

Christine Wadel
Christine and William Joseph Wadel (Courtesy image)

Getting it back was not even on his radar.

"He was like – shocked!" his daughter said.

"It never gets old – never gets old," Luke chimed in.

Christine says she'll hand deliver the ring to her Dad in Virginia this weekend, and won't be surprised if it conjures up some emotion. That's reward enough for Luke.

"I finally get to check it off my bucket list," he said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.