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David Penner's wife of 42 years died three months ago, but a 'miracle' Christmas surprise is bringing him much-needed comfort this holiday season

By Rose Minutaglio
December 24, 2016 10:10 AM
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Credit: NJ.com/Youtube

David Penner’s wife of 42 years died three months ago, but a “miracle” Christmas surprise is bringing him much-needed comfort this holiday season.

More than 15 years ago, the 68-year-old Great Meadows, New Jersey, native lost his wedding ring at Wyckoff’s Tree Farm in White Township. A return visit to locate the band soon after proved fruitless — and Penner figured he’d lost it forever.

That is until December 2, when the grieving husband was reunited with the long-lost ring, inscribed with the date of his marriage — July 20, 1974 — and the words, “To David. Love, Nancy.”

“This was a piece come back to me, in her absence,” he told NJ.com of his late wife Nancy, who died on September 30 at the age of 67.

Third-generation tree farmer John Wyckoff was riding his tractor in April when he noticed something glittering in the soil. After sifting through the dirt, he came upon a gold wedding ring with the detailed inscription. Wyckoff approached a local New Jersey newspaper to get the word out and a video posted to NJ.com in December went viral.

“I got probably about half a dozen emails of people trying to give me leads. One was right on,” Wyckoff told NJ.com.

Penner was ecstatic when he heard about the found item. He immediately dug up his wedding certificate and drove to Wyckoff’s Tree Farm.

“I thought it was a miracle,” he said.

Penner is now wearing his wedding ring for the first time since he lost it 15 years ago. He never got a new one, because he felt nothing could replace the original.

“We had each other, that was the main thing,” he told NJ.com.