Clifford Carlson shows wedding ring he found in 1994. (Clifford Carlson)

A wedding ring lost many years ago in Wisconsin is being returned to the family of a World War I doughboy.

Allen Dearborn gave the ring to Faith Bostwick on their wedding day in 1917. Days later, the 21-year-old Dearborn went to France where he saw combat with an Army artillery unit attached to the 42nd Rainbow Division.

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(Faith Bostwick on her wedding day in 1917. (Dearborn Family))

Air Force vet Clifford Carlson, who served in Vietnam in 1970 and 1971, found the ring nearly 22 years ago while mowing the lawn. On Thursday he showed the ring to three Dearborn family members at his home in Janesville.

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World War I doughboy Allen Dearborn. (Dearborn Family)

“They were excited for me and that I want to give it back to the family,” Carlson, 66. told Friday.

The Janesville Gazette ran a story about Carlson and the ring last week.

After finding the ring, inscribed “Allen to Faith May 26-17,” Carlson told the paper he went to the courthouse and sifted through marriage records. When the search didn’t pan out he gave up and set the ring aside.

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Clifford Carlson found this ring in 1994. (Angela Major/Janesville Gazette)

He renewed the search after being diagnosed with bone cancer last year.

“I have three to five years to live,” he told the paper. “I thought I better find out who should get the ring.”

He lucked out, thanks to the Internet and a reference librarian from the local library.

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The Gazette reported that Dearborn came home from the war a decorated veteran. He died in 1946. His spouse died in 1974 when she was 78.

Carlson is going to mail the ring next week to their daughter, Patricia Westby, who is 97 and lives outside Atlanta.

Westby told Saturday she can’t remember when her mother lost the ring.

“I vaguely, vaguely remember hearing one time that she had lost her ring,” she said. “It was replaced because what I remember is she always had a ring.”

Westby said she appreciates Carlson’s effort to track her down.

“It’s so amazing to all of a sudden answer your phone and hear a stranger say, ‘I have your mother’s ring,’” she said.

Click here for more from the Janesville Gazette.

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