Tomomi Okutake originally immigrated to Canada in 1907, and was employed with the CPR in Vancouver. He then moved to Hardiville, Alberta in 1911, and resided there until enlisting with the Princess Pat Canadian Infantry in 1917. After serving two years in Britain and France, he was honourably discharged, receiving the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Upon his return to Canada, Tomomi began his work in the No. 6 coal mine. In 1930, he travelled back to Japan to marry Tsuru Genka, and together they moved back to Hardieville where Tomomi continued his work.
The No. 8 coal mine site was moved to Lethbridge shortly after, where he continued as a miner until his retirement in 1953. Once Japanese citizens were allowed to live in Lethbridge, the couple moved into the city. Tomomi and Tsuru Okutake resided in the City of Lethbridge from 1961 until Tomomi’s passing in 1971.
Throughout his time in Alberta, Tomomi became a founding member of the Lethbridge Buddhist Temple and the Lethbridge Honpa Buddhist Temple. He also played a big part in being the interpreter or spokesperson for those who couldn’t speak English in the Okinawan community.
After Tomomi passed away, Tsuru enrolled at the Community College to learn English as a second language. She joined the Senior Centre and learned new skills such as weaving and dancing. In her final years, she lived in the Taber Long Term Care unit where she later passed away in 1990.
The Okutake family had two adopted daughters, Patricia Yuriko (Sassa) and Esther Tsuru (Ayukawa).
Scope and Content
2017.1025/001 Okutake Family Photographs: Tomomi Okutake, Tsura Okutake, Chiyoryo Ishimine, Toshiko Ishimine, Tomotaka Ishimine, Choryo Ishimine, Toshiko Higa, Chiyosei Genka, Yoneko Genka, Chiyotasu Genka, Dorothy Goshinmon, Chiyoki Okutake, Chotei Okutake, Art Okutake, Pat Okutake, Chokei Okutake, Guiso Oshiro, Vicki Okutake.
2017.1025/002 Citizens certificate, statement of service, passport, biography, etc.
2017.1025/003 Biographies of Issei Pioneers from Okinawa to Southern Alberta.
1.5 textual records, over 1,000 photographic prints, 7 posters
History / Biographical
The Order of Royal Purple was founded in Vancouver, British Columbia in September 1914. Several wives of the Elks created an informal group in 1913 to assist their husbands with benevolent, charitable and social work. In 1914, they became the recognized female auxiliary of the Elks of Canada. The objectives of the Order were to promote the principles of Justice, Charity, Sisterly Love and Fidelity, to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its members or for other purposes. In addition, the Order was to quicken the spirit of women toward a pure and noble citizenship, to promote harmony and good fellowship, to relieve suffering whenever possible and to strive at all times to make “Life sweeter, women better, and the world happier.” The logo was a diamond with an elk head in the center, a clock pointing to 11 o’clock opposite a pansy and the word Canada on the banner. The pansy was the official flower of the Order.
The Royal Purple was a very secretive society. They required passwords for every meeting and National Conventions. The Password could only be changed by the Supreme Honored Royal Lady and the Lodges would be notified every 6 months of the password change. The colors of the Order were purple, white and gold. The tassels on their purple pill box hats represents the individual’s status. White tassel means lodge member, white and purple means Honored Royal Lady (or local president), gold for District Deputy, and purple for Supreme Honored Royal Lady (National Leader.) A non-member can be granted honorary memberships for their contributions to the Lodge. Meetings would begin and end with floor work. Each Lodge and District develop their own bylaws and Rules of Order. In 2014 the Supreme Executive of the Order of Royal Purple decided to secede from the Elks and start a new organization, the Canadian Royal Purple Society. Some locals, however, wished to remain with the Elks and these were integrated into the organization of the Elks of Canada as Royal Purple Elks Lodges.
Lethbridge Lodge No. 32 was instituted on April 27, 1928 by PSHRL Mattie Lane and 23 ladies were initiated into the Order. Teas, bake sales, craft sales, rummage sales, and bingos have been annual fundraising activities for the lodge. One of their larger projects was to supply an Audiology Unit (a brain stem evoked response audiometer) costing $40,000.00 for the Regional hospital. They also undertook to supply Lifeline Units to the Auxiliary Hospital. The ladies also supported the local Soup Kitchen, local Food Bank, Parents Place, Harbor House for abused women and children, Meals on Wheels, Keep in Touch as well as other charities. The Lodge was also a supporters of the Elks and Royal Purple Fund for children. They disbanded at the end of 2017.
Source: The Royal Purple of Canada: 1914-2007 and interview transcript with Ann Marie MacDonald conducted by the Galt Collections
For more information check out the interview with Ann Marie MacDonald and the donation of Wilma Wood Royal Purple Regalia Accession Number P20170007001
Scope and Content
001: 18 Portraits of Purple Honorary Royal Ladies (1928-1954)
002: 16 Portraits of Purple Honorary Royal Ladies (1955-1970)
003: 1 Notebook: Suspensions, absolute demits, expulsions and rejections (1930-1989)
004: 1 Notebook: Sunshine reports (1933-1963)
005: 1 Notebook: Inventory of regalia and other items owned by society, expenses, and insurance particulars (1933-1974)
006: 1 Visitor register notebook (1933-2015)
007: 1 Roll call notebook (1940-1950)
008: 1 Scrapbook with various correspondence oversize
009: Annual district agenda and notes
010: Annual district agenda and notes
011: Annual reports
012: 1 Vancouver O.O.R.P 23rd Annual Convention photograph oversized (1947)
013: 1 Roll call notebook (1950-1958)
014: Per-capita tax & membership reports
015: 1 Scrapbook with leadership members, yearly activities, and donations oversized (1953-1959)
016: 1 Scrapbook with leadership members, yearly activities, and 154 photographs of various social events (1958-1962)
017: Directors minutes notebook (1959-1964)
018: Meeting minutes, agendas, reports, correspondence, and publicity manual
019: Roll call, donation requests, membership list, greeting card, Lethbridge Elk newsletters
020: Miscellaneous photographs; 33 negative strips, 41 individual negatives, 4 photographs of various social events
021: Directors minutes
022: 1 Notebook: Ladies receiving flowers (1963-1979)
023: Past Hon. Royal Ladies Association meeting minutes, member list, traveling gavel, newspaper cutouts
024: 13 Portraits of Purple Honorary Royal Ladies (1971-1985)
025: 12 Portraits of Purple Honorary Royal Ladies (1986-2012)
026: Travelling gavel log (1970-1983)
027: Publicity books, newspaper& newsletter cutouts, correspondence and 25 photographs of various social events
028: 1 Vancouver O.O.R.P 33rd Annual Convention photograph oversized (1957)
029: Publicity chairman’s kit, newsletter & newspaper cutouts, biographies, and 2 photographs of members of the O.O.R.P.
030: 60th anniversary program, district deputy reports & authorizations, and roll call
031: Regular and executive meeting minutes
032: Regular meeting minutes
033: Regular meeting minutes
034: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events oversized with 155 photographs of the various social events (1962-19670
035: 1 Scrapbook of the supreme convention oversized with 22 photographs of various social events (1965)
036: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events oversized with 152 photographs of various social events (1967-1970)
037: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events oversized with 139 photographs of various social events (1970-1971)
038: 1 Photo album 39 photographs of various social events (1974-1975)
039: 1 Photo album 170 photographs of various social events (1976-1980)
040: O.O.R.P bylaws, drills general information, procedures & floor work, special ceremonies, and statues (1988)
041: 1 Members register notebook (1981-1997)
042: 1 Tea book, expenses, agendas, and newspaper cutouts (1981-2000)
043: 1 Members register notebook (1973-1981)
044: Director’s minutes and roll call
045: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events, newspaper & newsletter cutouts, correspondence, 12 strips of negatives and 94 photographs of various social events (1979-1981)
046: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events, newspaper & newsletter cutouts, meeting agenda, 4 strips of negatives and 54 photographs of various social events (1982-1983)
047: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events, 28 strips of negatives and 100 photographs of various social events, and year end notes (1984-1985)
048: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events, newspaper & newsletter cutouts, 22 strips of negatives and 107 photographs of various social events (1979-1981)
049: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events, newspaper & newsletter cutouts, fund raising information, meeting agenda, and 175 photographs of various social events (1979-1981)
050: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events, newspaper cutouts, instructions for the historian, meeting dates, and 98 photographs of various social events (1988-1989)
051: O.O.R.P bylaws, annual reports, bingo constitution bylaws, correspondence, and contribution credits
052: Convention proceedings (1997-2000)
053: Charity resource booklet, annual report, newsletter, regular meeting minutes, and convention proceedings
054: Certificate of appreciation, newspaper cutouts, correspondence, constitution, newsletters, regular meeting minutes
055: Meeting minutes
056: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events, meeting agenda, and 99 photographs & 1 collage of photographs of various social events (1992-1993)
057: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events, newspaper cutouts, post card, event program, and 148 photographs of various social events (1993-1994)
058: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events, newspaper cutouts, ribbon, brochures, meeting agendas, charity donation lists, bingo license, fiscal budget, and 117 photographs of various social events (1995-1996)
059: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events, newspaper cutouts, ribbon, invitation, biography, and 134 photographs of various social events (1996-1997)
060: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events, newspaper cutouts, biography, year meetings, meeting agendas, event tickets, and 102 photographs of various social events (1997-1998)
061: Membership list, information material list, officer’s guide, constitution & bylaws, and procedures & drills
062: 1 Scrapbook of leadership members, yearly events, newspaper cutouts, biography, meeting agendas, church service pamphlet, historian module, and 135 photographs of various social events (2000-2008)
063: Constitution, procedures, and drills
064: Constitution, floor work books, and procedures
065: Meeting agendas, constitution, posters, application for membership, brochures, newsletter cutouts, business cards, bookmarks, notice of meeting cards, member records
066: 33 Photographs of various social events
067: Book- Royal Purple of Canada 1914- 2007, separated to library
068: 7 posters of anti-bullying campaigns oversized
069: Certificates and 27 photographs: group photographs at various social events, sponsored individuals, plaques that were not kept.
070: 1 Poster of Edition 1 Past Honored Royal Ladies
071: 1 Poster of Edition 2 Past Honored Royal Ladies