I graduated from Clemson in 1966 with a degree in ceramic engineering. After getting my master’s degree in 1967, I took a job at Kemet Union Carbide in Simpsonville, South Carolina. I stayed with Kemet for five years before moving to San Diego to work for a company called Emcon, which was a division of Illinois Tool Works.
Emcon was located about a mile from Torrey Pines State Beach. For lunch, a bunch of my colleagues and I would pile into a van and head down to the beach to go body surfing (yeah, I know — rough life!). Since our time was limited, we would change into our bathing suits during the ride so that we were ready to hit the surf once we got there. After surfing for about 45 minutes, we would shower and head back to work, eating our lunches during the ride back.
On one occasion, a buddy and I made this trip to the beach in his Volkswagen bug. We changed clothes in the bath house and locked our clothes in the car. While we were out surfing, someone broke into his car and stole my Clemson ring and my wedding ring. I was devastated!
After about eight months, I was considering buying another Clemson ring when I got a phone call from the sheriff of Parker, Arizona. Parker is about 265 miles from San Diego. The sheriff asked me if my Clemson ring had been stolen. I said yes, and he said they had just arrested a man who had my ring in his pocket. The sheriff found my name and hometown engraved inside the ring and called the only Hobbs family in Bishopville, South Carolina. I asked the sheriff if he had also found a wedding ring with my Clemson ring. He said, “Wait a minute.” A few minutes later, he came back and told me that, yes, he also had my wedding ring.
About three weeks later, I received both rings in the mail. I am so thankful for the Arizona sheriff who went to all that trouble to find me.
I often wonder, if my Clemson ring could talk, what kind of story it would tell!