Stolen University of Detroit Mercy class ring returned to rightful owner 15 years later

Dying 1964 University of Detroit Mercy grad gifted ring to son, it was stolen months later

A University of Detroit Mercy class ring was a priceless remembrance of his late father. The U of D class ring went missing when it was stolen 15 years ago; now, it's back in the hands of its rightful owner, thanks to a dedicated construction superintendent and the magic of the internet.

DETROIT – John Wozniak gave his 1964 University of Detroit Mercy class ring to his son Dave Wozniak before he passed in 2007. Less than 10 months later, the ring was stolen from Dave Wozniak’s home in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Now, 15 years later, the ring is back with Dave Wozniak. It’s all thanks to a dedicated construction superintendent and the magic of the internet.

“It’s unbelievable,” Dave Wozniak said.

The class ring was a true family ring. Before John Wozniak gave it to his son, he gave it to his now widow as a promise ring when they were dating in college.

While Dave Wozniak and his family were out of town, someone broke into their home. Electronics and sentimental items, like his father’s ring, were stolen. It broke their family’s heart.

“It was so close to the passing of my father, that I didn’t want to dwell on it,” Dave Wozniak said.

He said the person responsible was caught and over time some of their items were recovered, but not the ring.

“My assumption is whoever stole it kind of threw out the stuff that they didn’t want,” Dave Wozniak said.

It’s how he believes his father’s ring randomly turned up 15 years later.

The ring was found not far from where Dave Wozniak used to live and caught the eye of Marty Gair, a construction superintendent. One of Gair’s workers discovered it.

“Soon as I saw it, I was like, ‘Where’d you get that ring?’ and he says, ‘We found it in my garden’ and I said, ‘Do you mind if I look at it,’” Gair said. “Being from Detroit, I saw it said University of Detroit. I was like, well that’s weird.”

Gair spotted initials and the class year inside the ring. He realized there was a chance to get the ring back to its owner and reached out to the university.

University of Detroit Mercy made a Facebook post in Mid-January. Dave Wozniak’s father was the only one who graduated that year with those initials.

Gair called up Dave and they met up for what turned into an emotional exchange.

After learning the sentimental value of the ring, Gair said, “I was choked up, it was pretty cool.”

“It means a lot to have it back, but it also means a lot to understand the story of it and the people that you know, made it happen. It’s special,” said Dave Wozniak.

He said having it back is bringing up a lot of positive memories of his father John Wozniak.

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About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.