GILLETTE, Wyoming -- R.C. Bundy lost the ring on a scuba trip 18 years ago
“Hi R.C., this is Rob Holt and I've got a minor surprise for you ...”
Rob Holt left the message on R.C. Bundy's answering machine at work. Less than a half hour later, he would be sharing the surprise over the phone.
R.C. is William Bundy of Thornton, Colo. He is a Campbell County High School graduate, working for Anadarko Petroleum Co. Holt is a Chicago-based portfolio manager for J.P. Morgan, the international banking firm with billions of dollars to its name.
Both love to scuba dive.
Both have been diving in Hawaii.
And when Rob Holt went to the famed Cathedral diving site earlier this month, his daughter, Lindsey, found something that would link the two men forever: Bundy's Class of 1988 ring he lost 18 years ago.
It was in water 60-feet deep and covered in coral. By Labor Day weekend, it will be back on Bundy's finger.
The Holts, a family of five from Northbrook, Ill., with more than 1,800 dives under their collective belts, were in Hawaii for a wedding in August when they decided to go diving at underwater caverns off the island of Lana'i, just west of Maui.
The caverns, like many around Hawaii, likely were created by magma flows over hundreds of thousands of years from volcanos underneath the ocean.
It was at The Cathedral - so named because the openings look like stained glass windows - where Bundy went diving 18 years ago. He had learned to scuba dive when he was 12 years old at the Campbell County Recreation Center. The trip to Hawaii was a graduation gift from his parents.
“I remember going down with the ring and not remembering where I lost it at,” Bundy said.
He figured it would be on the bottom of the ocean forever, that he would never see it again. Almost 20 years later, he had pushed any hope - or even the thought - of finding the ring out of his mind.
Then Rob Holt called Friday.
His daugter had seen the ring just before the family left the diving site. It was their second dive of the day and she caught glimpse of a perfectly round object covered in corral. She picked it up and the family cleaned it off with industrial cleaner.
On one side was a camel, pyramid, palm tree and what looked like Aladdin's lamp. On the other was a scuba diver. On the top was “Campbell County High School.” Underneath was the inscription, “Made exclusively for R.C. Bundy, Gillette, WY.”
Rob called the high school. The school passed on the information to The News-Record. After an hour of phone calls, Bundy's best friend since eighth grade, Randy Pickett, was on the line.
Yes, R.C. had lost the ring. Yes, the two still talked several times a a week. He lived outside of Denver, and worked for a natural gas company. Pickett rattled off a few numbers. Within a few minutes, Bundy was on the phone with Holt.
“I can't tell you how much that scares the crap out of me. I lost that ring in 1988,” Bundy said when Holt told him his ring had been found.
Rob Holt, 56, had the same reaction when he was in college and lost his wallet while painting. It had slipped out of his pocket and into a gutter during the fall and wasn't found until the next spring.
Trying to find the owner of the ring just seemed like the right thing to do.
Lindsey, a sophomore studying business at the University of Denver, agreed.
“It might mean nothing to him but it might mean something,” she said. “It's a class ring, it has to mean something.”
And now the trio have something meaningful to share: A ring and a dive.
Rob Holt asked Bundy what he remembered of the dive and he said it was unforgettable.
“One of the most phenomenal dives of my life.”
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