The Return of the Ring II

When Phil Marsilius '43 lost his Norwich Class ring in 1972 while playing golf, he never expected to see it again. How the ring finally made its way back to him twenty-five years later is a remarkable story.

"I was playing in a golf tournament in Garden City, New York," said Phil. "It was in my pocket, and when I pulled something out, the ring must have come with it. We looked around on the golf course, in areas where it might have fallen, but we couldn't find it anywhere."

A year or so later, a construction crew was breaking ground for a new swimming pool near the course, and a young workman found the ring. In an attempt to reach the owner, whose name was engraved on the inside, he contacted Norwich, where Phil was Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the time.

Evidently, no one from Norwich responded to his inquiry, and the ring went into a jewelry box, where it remained, apparently forgotten about, for the next twenty-five years. Rather than go to the trouble of purchasing a new Norwich ring, Phil wore another ring in its place.

"I wore a Shriners ring as a replacement that my father had given me, and I lost that one on a golf course too, in Maine at my summer home. After than I wore my Masonic ring, which goes all the way back to the Blue Lodge in Northfield, Vermont, that I had joined while a student at Norwich, and where I am still a member."

In October 1997, the workman's fifteen-year-old daughter, Kelly Ann Hoolihan - who had been told about the ring by her father - decided to make another attempt to contact its owner, not knowing even if he were still alive. Her family, now living in Newman, Georgia, had recently purchased a new computer, and she was just learning how to use it.

Kelly Ann's Internet search proved successful. She contacted Phil via email, and the day after Christmas, the ring arrived at the Marsilius home beautifully wrapped in a jeweler's box and tied with a ribbon. Enclosed with the package was a letter apologizing for her delay in sending the ring, and expressing her delight at having at last found its rightful owner.

"I'm so glad we found you after all these years," wrote Kelly Ann. "Finding you made me so happy. Knowing that I am making someone else happy - especially this time of year - it brings me great joy."

Since that day, the ring has been back on Phil's right hand, where he wears it proudly. Still an avid golfer, he's not taking any chances on losing it again, however.

"I take it off and put it in my locker while I'm golfing," he said.

For more ring stories, read the answers to the January question of the month from the February 2005 issue of What's New @NU.

dweggler@norwich.edu, January 2005

What's New | 2005 News Archive