Conrad Davis of Lisbon keeps a small shrine in his home to his daughter Nicole, who died of breast cancer in 2016. Submitted photo

The way Conrad Davis sees it, very big things do indeed come in small packages.

The Lisbon man who lost his daughter to cancer in 2016, Davis received a package in the mail last month around Father’s Day.

It wasn’t much to look at — just a small, brown cardboard box with a smaller box and a single sheet of paper inside.

A treasure is what it was.

Davis began by reading the letter.

“Dear Mr. Davis,” it began. “Blessings in the name of Jesus. Enclosed please find the class ring which we suspect belonged to your beloved Nicole. My husband, who enjoys secondhand shopping as much as he enjoys tinkering, came across this lovely ring in a bag of rod hooks that he had in his barn. He cannot recall where the bag may have originated, or how long it has been in his storage; but upon looking at it, he believed such a ring would have special meaning to someone.

Nicole M. Davis-Marquis Sun Journal file photo

“He hurried to the house with his unique discovery,” the note continued. “With children gathered around, we began to note the many characteristics of the ring as we sought to solve the mystery of who once wore this jeweled band. Based on the ring’s information, I was delegated to research online. If I could come up with an address of a recipient, my husband would certainly ship it out.

“How quickly our joy met with sorrow,” the note went on, “as I learned of Nicole’s short life. Somehow this made us more determined to find you, her father. The locating of this ring seemed somehow timely with Father’s Day approaching. May its return and presence bring you a measure of comfort.”

Davis describes the racing heart; the flutter of hope as he began to grasp what the letter writer was telling him.

He turned his attention to the smaller box, opening it in a daze and carefully plucking out the jewel within.

There it was: a Class of 2001 Saint Dominic Academy class ring worn by his daughter Nicole before she lost it at the University of Maine in Orono nearly two decades ago.

“When I was holding the ring,” he said, “I felt like I was holding her hand again. The joy and comfort I felt at that moment were overwhelming.”

And there was no question at all that this was his daughter’s ring.

Nicole Davis lost her Saint Dominic Academy Class of 2001 ring nearly two decades ago at the University of Maine Orono. It was returned to her father, Conrad Davis, of Lisbon by strangers five years after she died of cancer in 2016. Submitted photo

Debra Thibodeau Anthoine, director of advancement at Saint Dominic Academy, describes the ring this way:

“The pale blue topaz stone still dazzling in its place, her graduation year of 2001 visible on one side, a softball player at bat etched below her name in capital letters on the other, and her name, Nicole Maria, gracefully etched on the inside of the band.”

Davis learned that the couple who found and returned the ring are from Whitefield. He respects their privacy, he said, and hasn’t identified the pair. But it’s clear what he thinks of them.

“Such wonderful people to have done this,” he said, “We are so thankful to these kindhearted strangers who recognized that their research and time would bring joy to someone. We are so grateful to them for the immense solace they brought to us. There are good people in the world.”

Conrad Davis of Lisbon holds his daughter Nicole’s ring from St. Dominic Academy’s Class of 2001. It was found by a man in his barn in Whitefield and traced to Davis five years after Nicole’s death. Submitted photo

Nicole Maria Davis-Marquis passed away May 23, 2016, at the age of 32 after a three-year battle with metastatic breast cancer. Since age 17, she had used her talents and passion to help with Davis Landscaping Co., the business founded by her father.

The company’s website still includes Nicole as a member of the team. Nicole’s brother Chris manages the business with his father.

Nicole also left behind a husband, Jeffrey Marquis, whom she married in 2007.

According to Conrad Davis, the reappearance of Nicole’s ring was timed in a way that only enhanced the fairy-tale nature of its return.

“The fifth anniversary of her passing was May 23,” he said over the weekend. “This letter arrived a week and half later. Yesterday, July 10 was her 38th birthday. One would say this is just coincidence. I totally believe it’s a spiritual thing.”

At Saint Dominic’s, Anthoine tends to agree.

“Knowing how much Conrad loves his daughter and misses her makes this story extra special,” she said. “We get calls from time to time from alumni who have lost their class rings and are looking to have a duplicate made. This is the first that I know of where a ring is found and the finders took the time to do the research. Their small effort paid big dividends. The amount of joy Conrad received because of this package makes the story worth sharing. Everyone could use some heartwarming news that brings hope.”

At his Lisbon home, Davis maintains a shrine to honor his daughter. The ring will be placed there now, but there are other items in that shrine that also speak to the strange coincidences in which Davis finds comfort.

Davis tells a story about stopping to buy a bottle of soda — which he seldom had a hankering for — at a store just months after his daughter’s passing.

“Coke had this promo, I guess, wherein they had names on the bottles,” he says. “I reached into the cooler, grabbed a Diet Coke bottle — the next one came tumbling down and it said ‘Nicole.’ I was shocked and knew I had to buy that one. So when I grabbed THAT bottle, the next one tumbled down and it said ‘Davis.’ I was speechless — could hardly count my money to give to the cashier.”

Those Coke bottles now dominate the shrine, which also includes photographs, a straw hat and other trinkets associated with Nicole’s life.

Davis said that after getting Nicole’s ring in the mail, he reached out to the couple who sent it. One way or another, he says, he wants them to know how grateful he is.

“With all the heartache in the world, there are rays of light,” Davis said. “This was ours.”


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