Late husband’s ring returned on anniversary of his passing


When a local hairdresser discovered to her horror that she had lost a precious wedding ring, she was devastated.

That’s because it was nearly four years earlier that Brenda Shiels lost her much-loved husband, Malcolm Shiels, who had worn the golden, somewhat battered ring until his final days.

“I had been to the annual Honey, Garlic, and Maple Syrup Festival in Manitou with a friend, on the September 9 weekend,” said Shiels. “Afterwards, we went to the Carberry Casino, for dinner, and to play the machines. I held my hand up to pull the handle, and that’s when I saw that the wedding ring was missing.”

Shiels had been wearing both her husband’s wedding ring, which she had put onto his finger back on their wedding day in 1969, plus a smaller ring, on her left pinkie finger. And both must have come off earlier at the festival without her noticing, she said.

Hope was pretty much lost.

But not entirely.

“I phoned the Killarney Guide paper the next day to get the number for the Manitou paper, and then I called them and put in an ad for the missing ring,” said Shiels. “I thought there might be a chance someone could have found it, and I asked anyone who did to contact me. I wasn’t too worried about the smaller ring – it was the wedding ring that mattered to me.”

Laura Greenfield, who helped organize the popular food festival, heard about the missing ring, and decided to post a message on her Facebook page, said Shiels, along with a picture of the gold ring itself.

“She said something on it like: ‘Let’s help this woman find this ring’,” said Shiels. “And after it went online, it went crazy. Everybody shared it.”

A few days went by, and then a Manitou mother put two and two together.

Melissa McKay’s son, six-year-old Christian, had spotted a ring on the ground, near a portable hand-washing station at the Honey, Garlic and Maple Syrup Festival.

He had picked it up, put it into his pocket, and later showed it to his mom. She didn’t think much of it, as it was worn and a little bent, and gave it back to him.

And then she heard about the story.

McKay got the ring back from her son, and let Greenfield know about the find. Greenfield called Shiels, not certain this was the real deal. She also sent a photo.

“I was pretty sure it was the ring,” said Shiels. “We talked back and forth, and then we arranged to meet.”

Christian thought it might be the missing ring too – but his biggest worry was that in returning it, he might be wangled into an unwanted hug from a strange lady.

The whole group got together, at the Opera House in Manitou, on Tuesday, September 27 – the same day that Shiels lost her husband four years ago – along with a CBC camera crew.

“They filmed the whole thing, as it happened,” said Sheils. “Right up until I saw the ring, and that it was Malcolm’s. Christian put the ring on my finger. He was such a cute little boy – he was such a sweetheart. And he didn’t get a hug – but he did sit on my knee. It was wonderful. It had been four years since Malcolm passed. It made my sad day happy.”

Global TV engaged her in a telephone interview immediately after the event, she said.

So where is the lucky ring now?

“I have put Malcolm’s ring on my wedding ring finger,” said Shiels. “And it’s never coming off.”


BAND OF GOLD – Brenda Shiels of Killarney was overwhelmed with joy after her late husband’s lost wedding ring was miraculously returned, against all odds. A six-year-old Manitou boy found the precious ring on the grounds of the Honey, Garlic and Maple Syrup Festival, where she lost it, and he later placed the wedding band onto Shiels’ ring finger.

Click on this CBC link to view the heartwarming scene for yourself.