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Five and a half decades of service comes to a close in Unity

A sad conclusion for a Unity service club as the Royal Purple has officially dissolved,ending five and half decades of commitment and service to Unity

UNITY ‑ Hundreds of meals made and served, dozens of meetings attended and infinite hours of service to the community have come to a close, as the Royal Purple Lodge in Unity has been dissolved.

While the last supper they provided happened several years ago, it was one aspect the Royal Purple ladies were best known for.

The Royal Purple Lodge began May 19,1968. These ladies came together to be an auxiliary to the Elks service club in Unity.

Of the 43 original members, a remarkable seven of those remained with the organization as members until the January 2022 dissolution. Irene Acton, Jeanne Cumming, Sophie Hayward, Doreen Leslie, Pat McCubbing, Sharon Olsen and Elaine Sperle were “lifers” in this lady’s service club.

Lady Sharon Olsen was installed as the first Honoured Royal Lady, Jeanne Cumming as Lecturing Lady and Doreen Leslie served as a one-year trustee.

The Royal Purple Lodge continued until Jan. 23 of 2015 when they amalgamated with the Elks and became known as the Unity Royal Purple Elks Lodge No. 322.

Throughout the years there have been 127 initiates, transfers into and out of the lodge, several demits and 11 members who have passed away. Membership at dissolution was 18.

A Royal Purple spokesperson says, “Over the 50 plus years of Purpledom, there has been much laughter, lots of hard work and, yes, there also has been sad times and tears shed. But each of our lives has been strengthened through the principles of our order ‑ justice. charity, love and fidelity. Many of us may not have known each other without becoming a member of this great order and, in doing so, many lasting friendships have developed.”

Twenty-eight ladies served as Honoured Royal Lady over the years, and many served more than one term. Jean Knelson and Elaine Sperle have shared the Honoured Royal Lady position since 2011. Henrietta Boerrichter has filled the secretary position since 2010 and secretary/treasurer since 2016. The lodge has had five ladies serve as district deputy ‑ Liz Birn, Jean Knelson, Sharon Olsen, Karen Boerrichter and Alice Wagner ‑ and Karen Boerrichter as provincial president.

“Even though our lodge is dissolving the friendships will last forever. Ladies, we can be proud of our accomplishments at all levels, and they provide us with everlasting memories,” the spokesperson says.

The group adds, “We are proud of all our achievements ‑ raising funds to contribute to our national charity Elks and Royal Purple Fund for Children, which bring changes to so many families. Over the years we have donated $64,000.”

Some community members recollected, "Even though the Royal Purple did far more than cater meals, in the 30 plus years we have lived in Unity, there almost wasn't an event where you weren't blessed with the culinary wizardry of the Royal Purple ladies. In fact, some times that is why you made sure to attend an event they were catering because you were guaranteed a fabulous meal, served with a smile."

Unity’s Royal Purple Lodge has donated more than $88,000 back to the community through school contests, scholarships and donations to other places in spaces in town. Some of the major recipients of this funding included the health care facility, hospital auxiliary and Parkview Place, in addition to the Elks and Royal Purple Playground. Unity Community Centre, school programs, Legion poppy fund and Unity Music Festival Scholarships were also supported.

As the chapter on this storied service club history in Unity closes, tears were shed and memories were shared amid thankfulness to a community who supported their endeavours for more than five decades.