Canisius class ring returned to owner after 45 years

After 45 years, Jim McNicolas, a graduate of Canisius College in 1968, was able to get his class ring back from a good samaritan in El Paso, Texas

Jim McNicolas’ Canisius class ring from 1968 when it was shipped back to him

On Sept. 2, 2020, Jim McNicolas, a 1968 Canisius College graduate, received a call about his Cansius class ring that he had lost in the ‘70s. After 45 years, the ring had been found. 

When the unknown caller popped up on his phone that day, McNicolas was not going to answer. He mentioned how he usually does not answer numbers that were unknown, but the location of the call was El Paso, Texas, a city he was stationed in as an air defense officer for the US Military back in 1975. He thought that maybe he would know the person on the other end of the line, and decided to answer.

The call was from Vera Dianna Nunez, a woman currently living in El Paso. Nunez explained to McNicolas that her family was having a graduation party for her sister, and the topic of class rings came up. Her parents remembered a class ring they had found while doing landscaping in their backyard in the ‘90s. As it turns out, Nunez’s parents rented the same home McNicolas lived in almost 20 years earlier. Nunez said that her parents never knew how to find the owner, given the lack of social media and technology at that time. In 2020, it was much easier for Nunez to find its rightful owner, especially since McNicolas’ name is inscribed inside.

On the call, Nunez described the ring to McNicolas, and all of the features matched up. The ring had his graduating year, 1968, on one side, the college name on the front, and a big red stone in the middle. McNicolas did not realize it at the time, but he said he must have lost the ring doing yard work when he lived in El Paso, Texas. 

“Luckily, I answered the phone that day,” McNicolas said. “She sent pictures of the ring and mailed it the next day.” The ring arrived on Sept. 5, 2020, the first time being in his possession in 45 years. 

McNicolas served in many different places during his career, jumping around from Fort Bliss in El Paso, Homestead Airforce Base in Florida, Korea, Germany and the Underground Pentagon on the border of Maryland and Pennsylvania. Despite his many years of service in these places, he was able to come back to Buffalo to work and help his community. 

McNicolas was an Assistant Professor of Military Science at Canisius from 1975-1978 and came back to be a Professor of Military Science at Canisius from 1989-1993. McNicolas planned to retire after his time at Canisius, but was called to sell Junior ROTC programs to high schools around Buffalo. Tacking on another 18 years in uniform as Senior Active Duty Officer, McNicolas was able to bring Junior ROTC programs to seven high schools in Buffalo. 

McNicolas said it was funny he got his ring back after such a long time, considering that his wife replaced his ring when he came back to Buffalo. McNicolas laughed, “one of the ironic parts of the story is that when I couldn’t find my ring, my wife and I were assigned to Buffalo at Canisius without a ring. So she actually replaced my ring in 1975, so I now have two rings!” Although he has two rings to show now, he is extremely grateful to have gotten back the original after all of that time.

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