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8:20am — Lost Family Bible’s 15-Year Journey Home

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bluewater Lake man solves mystery of a Bible left behind in a locomotive in 1994.

For those of you who like a story that ties up loose ends and warms the heart as well, here’s an article from the Memphis (Tenn.) Commercial Appeal that appeared earlier this month about a New Mexico man who wouldn’t give up a search.

It was years ago that a railroad engineer and his co-worker found an old Bible that had been left behind in an empty locomotive in New Mexico, and when no one claimed it from the rail yard’s lost and found after a week, Pat Lynch of Bluewater Lake took the tattered and torn book home, the paper wrote.

“I just wanted to make sure it got back to the family somehow. This is somebody’s heritage. I just couldn’t let that go,” Lynch told the Commercial Appeal, telling a reporter he was determined to find the owner who had written “Robert W. Childress `81.”

That was in 1994.

Earlier this month, the now-50-year-old Lynch and his wife, Barbie, traveled 1,124 miles from home to Memphis, Tenn., where they returned the Bible and told the Childress family in detail about his personal quest to find them.

You can read the details of the search here, but the long and short of it is that the Bible belonged to Robert W. Childress, who family members called a free spirit who traveled throughout the West and for a time lived in Tucson, not far from a power plant where the Santa Fe freight train carried coal from mines near Gallup.


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Childress died last year in Colorado, and his sisters told the Commercial Appeal they think their mother must have given their brother the Bible before she died in 1986.

“Tears came to my eyes,” Childress’ sister Pam Cummins told the paper. “It was so emotional simply because of the day.” The Bible arrived by mail from Lynch on Sept. 4 — the first anniversary of her brother’s death. She sent a text message to Lynch: “Robert’s Bible is home.”

Family members were grateful to see the familiar cursive handwriting of their grandmother — but even more grateful to the man who spent 15 years trying to return a family Bible they didn’t even know existed, the Commercial Appeal said.

“We are eternally grateful that he never gave up,” Cummins said. “Pat called it the lost Childress family Bible. It’s not lost any more.”

As for Lynch, he told the Commercial Appeal: “It gives me closure. It was like Robert was part of my family. We now can say ‘The End’ to this Bible quest.”