Human Interest Man Reunites with Ring Late Husband Wore as a Symbol of Their Commitment 23 Years After It Was Lost "Finding the ring really makes me feel that although Pete's no longer with me anymore, he's still with me," says Ismael Barba By Maria Pasquini Maria Pasquini Associate Editor, Human Interest - PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on February 15, 2023 12:34 PM Share Tweet Pin Email A California man never thought he'd see a sentimental ring he shared with his late husband again. Then, 23 years after it was lost, the ring found its way back to him. Ismael Barba's husband, Pete Brown, died of cancer last May, according to CBS station KVOR. Recently, he got a message out of the blue from somebody asking if he had lost a Nogales High School ring in Lake Tahoe. "My jaw dropped," Barba, an alum, told the outlet. Woman Whose Car Broke Down Finds Newlyweds' $15K Walking to Work and Returns It — Now She Has a New Ride Back in 1999, the couple took a trip to Lake Tahoe together. At the time, Brown wore the piece of jewelry to symbolize their commitment to each other. After it went missing, Barba recalled thinking that "it probably landed at the bottom of the lake." Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Unbeknownst to him, Jorge Flores actually found the ring on a boat in 1999, but was unable to figure out how to locate its rightful owner, per KVOR. Man Discovers $40K Ring While Combing Florida Beach and Happily Returns It: 'Karma's Always Good' Barba, who plans to get the ring resized, says "it feels great" to have the sentimental item back. "Finding the ring really makes me feel that although Pete's no longer with me anymore, he's still with me," he added.