February 24, 2001
Ring mystery at Boca Middle
1972 Boca High ring unearthed during tree

Picture it: Boca Raton, 1972. A Boca Raton High School student loses her gold class
ring. It has a purple stone and the letters "MRB" - her initials - engraved inside. She
searches high and low but the ring is gone.

Flash forward almost 30 years. Seventh-grader Anel Joseph is digging a hole with
classmates at Boca Raton Middle School to plant a tree for Arbor Day. About two
feet down, he spots something shiny.

"I said 'my goodness! 1972!'" said principal Burley "Butch" Mondy, describing his
reaction to Joseph's January 19 discovery. Mondy quickly contacted Mary Datos,
secretary to Principal Diana Harris at Boca High.

Datos found a 1972 yearbook and told Mondy that the only graduate that year with
the initials MRB was Mary Ruth Beil, a sweet-faced girl with long, straight hair.

And there, the trail went cold. Mondy called a family in Boynton Beach with the
name Beil, but never heard back. He searched the internet to no avail.

Finally, he put the ring in a safe at Boca Middle and gave up.

"We're really hoping that someone will find her but we don't know where else to
look." He said Thursday.

That's where Kathy Chenoweth Huber came in. After being notified of the situation
by The News, Huber, who runs an "online reunion" web site for Boca High
graduates put out an all-points bulletin on Bell.

"I have a database with 200 people in it and I sent out a mass e-mail." Said Huber.

Before long, she got several responses. One woman said she thought she knew
someone who knew Beil, and a man wrote that his United Parcel Service
deliveryman might have been a neighbor of Beil's.

Both respondents lived in South Florida, said Huber, although she did not know in
what cities. Although Huber had had no additional news as of Friday, she was
optimistic about the chances of finding Beil.

"I know she is around. I am just waiting to hear." Said Huber, who nonetheless
acknowledged that Beil could have died or may not wish to come forward.

According to Mondy, the gold ring is in mint condition and was found in an area that
was an open lawn in 1972. Today, two parking lots cover the area.

The ring was found on a median between them.

If you have any information about Mary Ruth Beil or the ring found at Boca Middle,
contact Kathy Chenoweth Huber at 865-579-0053 or She can
also be reached through the "Bobcats Alumni" web site at

Susanna Laurenti can be reached at
Boca Raton Middle School seventh-grader Anel Joseph
shows off the 1972 Boca High class ring he found while
digging outside the school to plant a tree.
Mary Ruth Beil
Class of 1972