THE LIFE AND SPIRIT OF LAKE GENEVA
His name is Seth Tost. He teaches the 5th grade at the Eastview Elementary School in downtown Lake Geneva. That he’s been a wonder of a teacher, a former police officer and more, is not the story. That’s the background.
The story is about Seth Tost, the treasure hunter and diver, and detective-hunter, as he refers to himself when he’s off from school and you look out to see somebody out there in the water just off the Lake Geneva Beach or even BigFoot. But, this guy is much more than a treasure hunter. He’s also all about heart, soul, and doing the right thing, likely unaware of just how much goodwill he’s sowing in the world.
One day, back in early July, he was diving off the pilings that surround the Riviera Pier Complex. His usual finds are rings, change, watches, and even car keys. On the morning of July 9th of 2021, he spotted a glint off of something that appeared unusual. He dived down and retrieved the item, immediately identifying it as an old high school or college class ring. Once he got back to shore, he examined the item, noting that the 10-carat gold the ring was mostly made of was heavy and might fetch between four to six hundred dollars. His eyes lit up and a smile crossed his face until he spotted the inscription carved inside the ring’s inner surface. The inscription was simple. It was only three letters: “F.E.C.”
Seth frowned, the detective part of him taking over from the treasure hunter. He put the ring in his bag and took it home where he cleaned it up and went to work. He could find nothing about any F.E.C. identified with the Bogota High School located in New Jersey. He found a yearbook from the year on the ring’s outer surface. 1963. He pulled up the electronic names of all the graduates of that year at the school. He found only one name matched the initials: “Frances Edward Condon.” At that point, his search died out. There was nothing about the man on the Internet that he could find.
He went to a special site that he’d sometimes frequented before called: theringfinders.com.
On that site, he found Frances and his story. Frances had graduated from the high school, gotten his ring, joined the Navy, and then trained in North Chicago. In the summer of 1964, he went swimming and lost his ring while out in the water. The ring had lain on the Lake Geneva bottom since that year…until Seth came along.
es, this story has a very happy ending. Seth mailed the ring off to its original owner in mid-July and Frances now has his ring back. That Seth never had a thought or consideration about the net value of the ring to him, once he found that a real possibly identifiable man might be found to return it to, is really what this story is about.
Many times, the public sees men and women scanning the waters for items of value, working their way back and forth just offshore of Geneva Lake’s beaches. Stop, when you see one and remember the story about Seth, and how he worked to get that ring back to an aging man who probably really loved getting the golden relic to put back on his finger. If you have a 5thgrader, and he’s attending Eastview Elementary School then also consider yourself and your family really lucky.
Lake Geneva and Southern Wisconsin itself is filled with such people, and most people who find Lake Geneva, like every member of the Geneva Shore Report staff, came here, stopped, and then stayed…for the lake and its beauty, of course, but primarily for another thing that’s not talked about much but hopefully illustrated here in this story.