The mystery of a lost Bible discovered at the Parksville Vistor Centre has come to an end.
But the Bible won’t be returning to its original owner.
Judy Jacobsen, whose name was inscribed inside of the Bible, passed away three years ago at the age of 80. The Bible had been given to Jacobsen and was dated Dec. 25, 1956.
Lisa Wallace, sales, marketing and communications director for the Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce, which manages the Visitor Centre, said employees found the Bible in one of the desk drawers as they were moving offices back in December.
But Wallace said she wasn’t sure how long the Bible had been there, adding the office opened in 1996.
“I can’t throw out a bible because we’ve probably had this sitting around the office for years,” Wallace said. “Really, it could have been there for 10 years… I could not get rid of this, so I had to do some detective work. I had to do some leg work here to get it back to the family.”
So Wallace looked inside the Bible, where she found a letter from 1957 that said it had been in the care of the Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alta. Wallace said she looked up the institute to find out it is now the Prairie College, and she sent the president of the school, Mark Maxwell, an email.
Wallace said Maxwell got back to her right away, and told her Jacobsen was in the college’s database in 1953 and that she had married a Herbert Zimmerman.
Wallace also said Maxwell knew that both Jacobsen and her husband (she later took his last name when they married) had both since passed, but they had children.
“He (Maxwell) said, ‘Well, I’m going to get my assistant on it.’ Then, I started posting it to Facebook, asking if anyone knew the name of Jacobsen or Zimmerman; got a few responses and lots of shares.”
Wallace also said there was writing within the Bible referring to Seattle, so she wrote to the Women’s Business Network in Seattle.
Just before Christmas, on Dec. 22, Wallace said, she received an email from Maxwell’s assistant saying they hadn’t had much luck finding Jacobsen. Wallace said she contacted the school after Christmas, and while the college hadn’t heard anything yet, it had people working on it.
On Tuesday, Wallace said she heard from the college that researchers had located Jacobsen’s older brother, Rev. Ingmar Jacobsen, and his wife Vivian, and, “they would love to have the Bible.”
Vivian, who now lives in Lethbridge, Alta., said when she heard from Wallace she just thought Jacobsen had maybe given the Bible to a friend and it had somehow ended up on Vancouver Island.
“I do not have any idea how the Bible got to the Island, except that Judy loved her Bibles, and I know that she wouldn’t have been careless with it,” Vivian said, adding Jacobsen did have another brother who had retired to the Island.
Vivian said Jacobsen was the youngest of 11 children, and grew up in a “very Bible-believing family and the Bible was special to all the children.”
“I thought if I got the Bible here, I would try and contact Judy’s daughter and see if it’s something she would like to hang onto. If not, I would just let Judy’s brother (Ingmar), who is my husband, treasure it here for himself.”