A woman who lost her parents in a plane crash 55 years ago has received a sentimental part of her past: her mother’s wedding ring. Joyce Wharton received a phone call last Sunday from Nick Buchanan, a logger who found her mother’s ring in 1997 near the plane's crash site . He connected it to the 1959 crash and set out to find family members. With his nephew’s help Buchanan used Ancestry.com to find Wharton, who is from San Antonio now lives in New Jersey.
"He said, 'Joyce, I have your mother's ring, and I've been looking for you all these years and I want you to have this,'" Wharton told ABC News recalling the phone call. She received the ring in the mail Wednesday.
"It was almost like reaching out to touch my mom," Joyce 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.
In 1959, Joyce Wharton’s parents died in a small plane crash en route to Seattle from Portland, Oregon. For 15 years, the family did not know about the crash until wreckage was discovered in a dense wooded area in Washington state.
"They went out to the airport and left, but they never arrived in Seattle," Wharton told WABC, New York. "So for many many years, we didn't know what had happened."
Wharton says the news came just in time for the holidays. "To see a ring that the last time I saw this ring, my mother was wearing it 55 years ago, that's my Christmas miracle," she said.