Ring returned to family of 1965 graduate after 50 years
Ring was found in Killarney Lake a month ago and was returned to the family on July 1
A graduation ring found in a Fredericton lake about a month ago was returned to its rightful owner on Monday after being lost for more than 50 years.
Rob Allaby, a local chiropractor, found the ring while metal detecting in Killarney Lake on June 8.
When he realized it was a 1965 Southampton Regional High School grad ring, he was determined to track down its owner, and within a month, he did just that.
"I like to finish what I started I guess," said Allaby.
"Just one thing led to another and what do you do with somebody else's class ring? You want to get it back to the family of the person that it belonged to, and I was driven by that."
Allaby narrowed his search down to about four women from the 1965 class from Southampton, a school that disappeared after the Mactaquac Dam was built. He eventually determined the ring belonged to Barbara Christie.
Barbara moved to Fredericton after graduating high school to study science at the University of New Brunswick and he said a family member told him that Barbara took swimming lessons at UNB. She even went swimming with her husband at Killarney Lake.
"Him and Barbara would often go to Killarney Lake and they'd swim back and forth across the lake and they loved to swim," Allaby said. "So that put her in the lake and really, that was the key to solving the mystery."
Barbara Christie died of breast cancer at the age of 44 in 1991.
Allaby decided to return the ring to her 91-year-old mother, Gwen Christie.
He presented the ring to Christie on July 1, after having it cleaned, shined and put it in a ring box.
"To be honest, it's a little emotional giving it to the mom," Allaby said. "But I feel that was the right place and it couldn't go to a better spot, really."
Gwen said she started to cry when Allaby returned the ring to her. She said it meant the world to have a keepsake of her daughter, her first-born child, nearly 30 years after her death.
"It's given me something to remember her by, because I had nothing but a picture of her," Gwen said.
After Barbara's death, her husband looked after her belongings and Gwen said she didn't receive any of her daughter's items.
Chico Christie, Barbara's brother, was surprised to hear his sister's ring was ever lost.
"I think maybe she was a little bit alarmed about it and didn't tell anybody," he said.
But when he heard that Allaby was looking for the owner, he was excited that his mother might finally have the keepsake.
"Of course, I thought, 'Well, if that comes down to the final one and Rob is absolutely sure it's hers, my mom needs to have it,'" Chico said.
"It was a wonderful feeling, and I guess that's what drove us to do all this work," he said.
"You know, just to get it to where it was supposed to be."
With files from Viola Pruss