RUMFORD — More than 30 years ago, Hilda Lee Cash lost her high school class ring on a beach in Cape Cod.

Cash, a former Rumford resident who has since married and changed her surname to McCrillis, will soon be reunited with that Rhode Island ring, thanks to the man who found it and Rumford police Sgt. Doug Maifeld.

Maifeld said he received a message earlier this month via the department’s Facebook site from Skip Wolsieffer of Osterville, Mass. Wolsieffer wrote that in the summer of 1985, he found a North Kingston High School class ring on Marconi Beach in Wellfleet, Mass.

Inscribed on the band was “Hilda Lee Cash.” After many years of fruitless efforts to find Cash and return the ring, Wolsieffer learned that she had married and that her last name was now McCrillis and she lived in Rumford. He contacted Rumford police and shared his story.

Maifeld checked and learned she had moved, but her family was still living on Hancock Street in Rumford. They told Maifeld that McCrillis now lives in New York and gave him her phone number.

“I called her and asked, ‘Did you lose your class ring on a beach in Cape Cod?’ and she said, ‘I haven’t seen that ring in 30 years!'” Maifeld said.

He put her in touch with Wolsieffer, who was to meet Thursday with McCrillis’ sister to give her the ring.

Wolsieffer, 66, said Thursday he found the ring in the summer of 1985.

“I was just out for an enjoyable walk on the beach and I saw a tiny speck of reflection,” he said. He took the ring home and called the North Kingston Police Department. He said an officer told him Cash had left the state and he didn’t have any other information.

So Wolsieffer put the ring in a drawer. He tried searching the Internet for Cash in 2000.

“I didn’t find anything,” he said. “The search engines available then weren’t what they are now.”

“But in December, my kids bought me Ancestry and dawn breaks over Marblehead two weeks ago,” Wolsieffer said of the popular genealogy software and an expression that refers to a sudden realization. “I got a brain flash.”

Eventually, he found Cash through her married name of McCrillis and learned that she had formerly lived in five towns in Maine, including Rumford.

“When I got her married last name, I said, ‘Oh, man! There’s hope for this yet,'” Wolsieffer said.

He contacted Rumford police a week ago via Facebook, and Maifeld tracked down her family.

“She was rather shocked and thrilled to death,” Wolsieffer said of McCrillis’s reaction when he told her he had found her ring. “The ring, oh, it’s still pristine,” he said.

McCrillis said Friday that she lost the ring more than 30 years ago and was looking forward to her reunion with the ring this weekend. “I’m very happy and surprised that I’m getting mine back. I am very excited.”

Maifeld said that finding McCrillis and putting her in contact with Wolsieffer to get her ring back was rewarding for him.

“I’ve never done anything like this before, but I have tried to find people,” Maifeld said. “It was fun. I mean, that’s what you get into law enforcement for — helping people.”

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Edited on April 17 after McCrillis called and said she lost the ring more than 30 years ago.


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