Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 1, Page 18
Fall 1991
Alumni Profile; Lost for 39 years, ring still has class

     William E. Hart, Delaware '51, has led an eventful life, but his
University class ring has a story or two to tell as well.
     An ROTC member with a civil engineering degree, Hart spent two
years in the U.S. Army. Later, he worked for 32 years with the Naval
Oceanographic Office, mapping ocean floors. After traversing every
continent and ocean over a 32-year career, he retired as director of
the office's bathymetric division. His two children grew up listening
to his stories. Now, he has a new story for his grandchildren.
     In 1952, Hart lost his University of Delaware class ring.
     At the time, he was a second lieutenant stationed in Pittsburgh
with the 708 AAA Gun Battalion. It was winter, cold, wet and very
     The first order of business was to "dig in" to the hillside where
the battalion was to live. "Because it was cold and wet, even the
officers were working and digging," he recalls. "I remember I was
digging a foundation for one of the buildings and my fingers were so
numb my ring just flew off my hand into the mud."
     Hart and his men searched the area for the ring. The mud made the
search a lost cause. "Eventually," Hart remembers, "we poured cement
over it and I thought I'd never see it again."
     Miraculously, the ring was found in August, 1990, at Moore Field,
a park near Pittsburgh, by J.L. Dielsi, a retired teacher. Dielsi
recalls the blue glass reflecting the sun's rays. He cleaned the ring
and took it to the park's lost-and-found department. But no one
claimed it. "I knew somebody would probably like to have the ring. I
would appreciate it if someone returned something I had lost."
     Hoping the owner could be traced from the initials engraved
inside the ring, Dielsi mailed the ring to the University of Delaware.
Office of Alumni Relations secretary Patricia Wolfe combed the alumni
directory for a "W.E.H." in the Class of 1951. When Hart received a
telephone call asking him if he lost his class ring, he could not
believe it. "I was amazed that it had been found. I told a lot of
people about it," recalls the Pass Christian, Miss., resident. "It's
in good condition and I'm wearing it now after 39 years."
     When Dielsi was told Hart`s story, he said he was pleased that
the ring had been reunited with its owner. "College is something in
your life that you have achieved. You really like to have and wear (a
ring) and be proud of it," he said.
     There is some mystery how the ring came to Moore Field. Hart does
not remember ever being at the park. Maybe someone else found the ring
and dropped it there. No one will ever know.
     "I'm glad the owner was found. Things like this mean more to a
person as they get older," Dielsi says. "Miracles come up in life."
                                   --Brook Williams, Delaware '91