A Snowball’s Chance

Tim Towler ’77 is reunited with his College class ring two decades after it went missing.
Here, he tells his story to

In 1995, I took a position with Appleton Papers, so my family and I moved from California to Appleton, Wis.; it was a definite change in weather! One day in winter 1996 or 1997 we had a heavy snowfall. I came home from work and saw that my son and the neighborhood kids were having a really massive snowball fight — I wasn’t paying much attention until I got out of the car and everyone turned their attention to me. They were lobbing snowballs at me left, right and sideways, so I had to return the favor.

“The battle lasted for 10 or 15 minutes, up and down throughout the apartment complex, until finally I had to go into the house. I grabbed my briefcase, headed inside, looked down at my right hand and said, ‘Oh no.’ Somehow in the course of throwing snowballs, my College class ring fell off. It was still light out, so all the kids organized a search party, but with no success.

illustration of a class ring

Alyssa Carvara

“When the spring thaw came, we combed over the entire area, but found nothing; it was gone. I thought about replacing it, but the price had gone up dramatically since I bought mine in 1977. I always thought, ‘One of these days I’ll replace it,’ but ‘one of these days’ never came.

“Years went by and then, in the Spring 2017 issue of Columbia College Today, I was looking through the Class Notes — because the first thing I do is turn to my class column — and I saw a note at the top of the page that there was a class mystery. At first I just thought, ‘Oh, that’s interesting,’ but when I saw that it was about a class ring found in Appleton, Wis., I just about lost it. I emailed CCT immediately and then I emailed the gentleman in Wisconsin who had contacted the Alumni Office. He told me that his father had found the ring and wanted to give it back to the rightful owner. His father had succumbed to cancer, but the son wanted to find the owner. That was a special man and I really appreciate his dedication and follow-up.

“When I got the ring back, I had to get it rounded out, as it had a bit of a dent in it. But it still fit and otherwise looked good: white gold, blue stone, crown, lion on one side, Alma Mater on the other and ’77 under Alma; it’s the original I got in my senior year. I’m surprised that it was buried all that time and yet looked the same as when it flew off my finger that day, including the chip in the stone that had been there before I lost it.

“It was so exciting that after 20-plus years, I had it back; I never thought I’d be reunited with that ring.”