This Pewaukee man thought he had lost his wedding ring forever. A hospice chaplain found it two years after it went missing.

Dewey Sherman had been married to his wife for 60 years when he lost his wedding ring while doing yard work. He searched for the ring for two days with no luck.

"My wife was in the hospital," Sherman said. "She was sick at the time, and I come back and I told her, 'I can't find my ring.' She said, 'Oh, I'll get you another one.' I said, 'No. I want that ring.'"

Two years passed with no sign of Sherman's ring, and he lost hope that he'd ever see it again. His wife, Judith Sherman, was living back at home, receiving care from St. Croix hospice in Brookfield.

Their hospice chaplain, Paul Humphreys, spoke with Judith during one of his routine visits when she told him the story of the lost ring.

Humphreys has been a metal detectorist for 40 years. As a member of the Ring Finders, a directory of metal detecting specialists, he knew finding the ring wasn't a lost cause.

"I thought, 'Oh, my goodness, I got to try and help this couple if I can,' because I could tell just in the way that they spoke about the loss, that it was something that was very meaningful to them," Humphreys said.

He offered to come back later that day with his equipment to search for the missing ring. While Sherman thought it was a long shot — especially because of the lake in the couple's backyard — Humphreys knew he had to try.

Sherman watched through a window while Humphreys searched and noticed the chaplain was quietly talking to himself. Little did he know, Humphreys was praying that he would find the ring.

Humphreys didn't stop looking for four hours.

"I worked until almost dark and finally I thought, 'I'm just going to try one last thing,'" Humphreys said. "And I turned my machine wide open, and my headset was just howling in my ears with all the metal and bits of tin and this material that, over the years, had found their way into the soil. And I was just about to close things down when I saw two little numbers flash across my screen."

The expert metal detectorist knew that those two numbers could be indicative of a gold ring. Humphreys found it under 6 inches of dirt.

St. Croix Hospice Chaplain Paul Humphreys found  Dewey Sherman’s wedding ring under 6 inches of dirt.
St. Croix Hospice Chaplain Paul Humphreys found Dewey Sherman’s wedding ring under 6 inches of dirt.

He brought the ring back to Judith as she lay in her bed near the living room window that overlooked the lake and her garden.

"I made my way over to Judith, and I put the ring into her hand and I told Judith, 'Judith, I want you to be the one to give it to him,'" Humphreys said.

She called her husband over, and he sat attentively by her side. She handed him the ring, and he put it on just to make sure it was his. It was a perfect fit.

Judith and Dewey Sherman pose with his wedding ring, which had been lost for two years.
Judith and Dewey Sherman pose with his wedding ring, which had been lost for two years.

"I just couldn't believe it," Sherman said.

The Shermans were about to move to an apartment near their daughter.

"My wife said, 'What would have happened if we would have moved up there, and we never found the ring?'" Sherman said.

Humphreys snapped a picture of the couple with their ring, capturing their moment of relief and happiness.

"She then wanted to be helped up, and even though she was in pain and discomfort, she got herself up, sitting on the side of the bed with him," Humphreys said.

Judith died in early September, two weeks after the ring was found.

"It was God's will," Sherman said. "I think He wanted me to have it, I guess."

Humphreys told the story of the ring at Judith's funeral.

"It's more than just a ring," Humphreys said. "It's all that represents the memory."

Quinn Clark can be emailed at Follow her on Twitter @Quinn_A_Clark

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Pewaukee man's long-lost wedding ring found by hospice chaplain