Dewey Sherman had been married to his wife for 60 years when he lost his wedding ring while working in the garden. He searched for the ring for two days without success.
“My wife was in the hospital,” Sherman said. “She was sick at the time, and I came back and said, ‘I can’t find my ring.’ She said, ‘Oh, I’ll get you another one.’ I said, ‘No. I want this ring.'”
Two years passed with no sign of Sherman’s ring, and he gave up hope of ever seeing her again. His wife, Judith Sherman, lived at home and received care from Hospice Sainte-Croix at Brookfield.
Their hospice chaplain, Paul Humphreys, spoke with Judith during one of her 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 seekersa directory of metal detecting specialists, he knew that finding the ring was not a lost cause.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, I have to try to help this couple if I can,’ because I could tell, just by the way they were talking about the loss, it was something that had a lot of meaning to them,” says Humphreys.
He offered to return later that day with his gear to search for the missing ring. While Sherman thought it was long, especially because of the lake in the couple’s backyard, Humphreys knew he had to try.
Sherman looked through a window as Humphreys searched and noticed the chaplain talking quietly to himself. He didn’t know Humphreys was praying for the ring.
Humphreys didn’t stop searching for four hours.
“I worked until dark and finally I thought, ‘I’m just going to try one last thing,'” Humphreys said. “And I opened my machine wide, and my helmet was screaming in my ears with all the metal and the bits of tin and this material that over the years had ended up in the ground. And I was about to close things calmed down when I saw two small numbers flashing on my screen.”
The metal detecting expert knew that these two numbers could indicate a gold ring. Humphreys found it under 6 inches of dirt.
He brought the ring back to Judith as she lay in bed by the living room window that overlooked the lake and her garden.
“I walked up to Judith, put the ring in her hand and said to Judith, ‘Judith, I want you to give it to her,'” Humphreys said.
She called her husband and he sat down attentively beside her. She handed him the ring, and he put it on just to make sure it was his. It suited perfectly.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” Sherman said.
The Shermans were about to move into an apartment near their daughter.
“My wife said, ‘What if we moved up there and never found the ring? ‘” Sherman said.
Humphreys snapped a photo of the couple with their ring, capturing their moment of relief and happiness.
“She then wanted help, and even though she was in pain and discomfort, she got up, sat on the side of the bed with him,” Humphreys said.
Judith died in early September, two weeks after the discovery of the ring.
“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 about memory.”