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Royal Purple Vermilion Lodge #108 73 Years Of Tradition

From left, Edith Waldenberger, Beth Walsh, Fay Park, Evelyn Carroll, Edna Battorff, Marj Tilelt, Dora Caron, Marj Logan, Muriel Bell, Lil Smith. The Founding Members at the 25th Anniversary in 1972. Photos Submitted

For decades the Elk’s Hall on 49 Ave was the home of the Order Of The Royal Purple Lodge #108. For over 70 years the ladies of the Royal Purple served the residents of the Vermilion area through fundraising, teas, catering, hosting children’s Christmas parties, and supporting town organizations such as the food bank, Santa’s Anonymous, Friends of the Vermilion Health Care, Vermilion and District Housing for Assisted Living and the school’s hot lunch programs.

Formed in 1947 after Fay Park and Marjorie Logan attended the Elk’s Convention with their husbands in Vancouver and learned about The Royal Purple. These two ladies came home and recruited 35 other women to join the worthwhile cause, and on November 18, 1947, Lodge #108 was instated. In 1997 at their 50-year celebration founding members Beth Walsh and Fay Park recalled that they really did not know what the Order was about and what the protocols were, but managed to figure it out all together with some laughs along the way.

The Elk’s were very supportive of the Lodge, and not only helped financially but also joined them in hosting events, bringing the community together with a yearly carnival and some catering functions. Dues for membership were $1.50 when the group came together, and when the Lodge disbanded in 2020, dues were $60 a year. For many years the going rate to have the Royal Purple cater your event was $1 for a roast beef dinner with homemade pies. Apparantly when the ladies had to raise the price to $1.50, there was some grumbling among the community and Lodge members.

From left front row, Joan Hall, Pat Shimko, Susan Long, Barbara Schmidt, Helen King. From left back row, Jan Eriksen, Judy Sivam, Yvonne McGinnis, Carol Beecroft, Marsha Rozka. The Royal Purple Ladies 2010.

Protocol and tradition were (and still are) an important component of the Royal Purple Society, and there are many different roles that members could fill while they were Royal Purple ladies. Honoured Royal Lady, Associate Royal Lady, Loyal Lady, Conductress, Chaplin, Secretary, Treasurer, Historian, Pianist, Outer Guard, Inner Guard and three Trustee’s comprise the Officers of the Lodge and all had important roles to fill both at the monthly meetings and in supporting the fellowship of Lodge members.

Conductress’ were responsible for member induction, and hosting/introducing guests to the lodge. Chaplin’s said the prayers, and would visit ill Lodge members to support them. Outer Guard Lady’s were responsible for making sure protocol was observed, so they were responsible for locking the door when the meeting started, and enforced the password protocol that latecomers had to follow. Every lodge also has a Historian, a lady responsible for putting the year together in a scrapbook, containing the names and roles of members and highlighting the year’s activities, while also honouring any members who passed away through the year. These scrapbooks are incredible journals of the Lodge’s great work in the communty and comradare that the Royal Purple ladies share amongst themselves.

The Vermilion Royal Purple unfortunately folded in December of 2020, but the last members still cherish the time they spent together. In a short two hour interview, Carol Beecroft and Jan Eriksen provided wonderful memories and stories of some incredible local ladies who served their community selflessly. The enjoyment they experienced of being Royal Purple ladies was evident in their laughs, smiles and enthusiam to share their fond memories of their time as members of Lodge #108.

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