(NEW YORK) -– Joyce Wharton, who lost her parents when their small plane crashed in a forest in Washington state 55 years ago, never thought she would see her mother’s wedding ring again.
The plane disappeared in 1959, and the wreckage wasn’t found for 14 years, but even then the ring was not recovered and was thought to be lost.
However, just this week Wharton, who lives in New Jersey, received a phone call from Nick Buchanan, a logger in Centralia, Wash., who had stumbled onto the ring in 1997 and connected it to the 1959 crash, according to ABC News affiliate WABC-TV.
For years Buchanan had been looking for a family member so he could properly deliver the ring.
“He was determined that he was going to give it back to a daughter or family member to give it back to,” Wharton said after she spoke with him earlier this week.
Wharton said Buchanan finally contacted her after he and his nephew searched the Internet.
After a few conversations to ensure that Wharton was the right recipient, Buchanan mailed the ring and Wharton got it back on Wednesday.
“It was almost like reaching out to touch my mom,” Wharton told ABC News. “It was like reaching out to the past because the last time I saw the ring it was a couple of weeks before they left” on their flight.
Wharton’s parents Hazel and Hugh Armstrong, from San Antonio, Texas, had been on their way to see family when the plane crashed. Wharton was just 23 at the time and newly married.
“Just in your heart you’d like to have your mother’s wedding ring,” Wharton said. “Something so special to your mom and dad. After all those years you don’t think it’s ever going to be possible.”
Wharton said she found it especially touching that she was able to get the ring back during the holiday season.
“To get that phone call out of the blue… It’s hard to find adjectives, because you’re so full emotionally,” she said. “It renews all those thoughts of my mom and my dad. It was just wonderful.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
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