Since its beginning in 1923, including our present leader Paul Pelasky,
ninety five individuals have served as Exalted Ruler of Orange Lodge,
three of them, Harold P. Johnson, Charles E. See, and Robert Genelle having served twice as ER of Orange Lodge, and two having served as ERs of other Lodges before transferring to Orange - Craig Coleman served as ER of Newport Harbor Lodge and John Stone served as ER of Long Beach Lodge.
It would not be amiss to state that the growth and continued existence
of our Lodge is greatly due to the dedication of those who gave
so much of their time and efforts in service to the Lodge. Of our
ninety four Past Exalted Rulers, sixty six of them have passed on.
Our first Exalted Ruler, A. L. (Al) Tomblin, served Orange as Fire Chief
from 1919 to 1951. During his tenure, the fire department made the
transition from volunteer to paid firemen. Until the last few months of
his life, he was a faithful attendant at Lodge meetings. He died in June
of 1970 at 88 years of age.
Nine of our Past Exalted Rulers have served as District Deputy
Grand Exalted Rulers. They have been: Williard Smith, Jr., 1950-51,
Oscar Stutheit, 1955-56, Robert Buchheim, 1960-61,
Russell Tanner, 1966-67, Elmer Wolff, Michael F. Leintz, 1996-97, John Stone, 2006-07, Robert Genelle, 2009-10 and R.C "Stoney" Bourke, 2017-2018.
In the history of Orange Lodge, seven of our Past Exalted Rulers have served as Vice Presidents in the State Association. Stanley V.
Mansur served in the early thirties, Elmer Wolff,
1973-74, Michael F. Leintz, 1993-94, John Stone, 2003-04, Robert Genelle, 2007-08, R.C. "Stoney" Bourke, 2015-16 and JackieLynn DeFries, 2019-20.
Some interesting sidelights on our Past Exalted Rulers: The
youngest Exalted Ruler in his term of office was Grant
Goddicksen, 1937-38 who was 28 years old. Next youngest was Jerry
Ralston, 1971-72 who was 29. Our third youngest Exalted Ruler was
Robert Buchheim, 1952-53, who was 34.
The first woman to serve as Exalted Ruler was Donnal Hunt in 2004-2005. Donnal joined the officer ranks as Esteemed Lecturing Knight in 2001 and was a member of the district ritual championship team in 2002.
Of all our past Exalted Rulers, one stands out from the rest: Oscar W.
Oscar was born October 15, 1907 in Villa Park, California. He
was initiated into Orange Lodge No. 1475 on December 13, 1939 by Bill
Hirstein, Exalted Ruler, having been was proposed by Dr. J. E. Riley.
Oscar was a butcher and owned Southside Market in Orange, and Hillside
Meats in Santa Ana.
On April 2, 1947, Oscar was installed as Exalted Ruler of our Lodge, and later
served a five year term as Trustee.
Oscar began his service outside his Lodge serving as District Ritual
Chairman from 1951 to 1952. Through the years he judged Ritual
Competition in California, Nevada, and Arizona. He was also a member of
the original group setting the standards for our Grand Lodge Ritual
In 1953 and 1954 Oscar served two years as a member of the Board of Trustees for
the California Elks Association. He was appointed District Deputy Grand Exalted
Ruler for the area encompassing Orange and San Diego Counties (fifteen lodges)
for 1955-1956, to the Grand Lodge State Association Committee for 1956-1957,
and made an Honorary Life Member of Orange Lodge April 9,1958.
Oscar served from 1960 until 1967 on the CHEA Major Project Committee, the first
individual to be appointed who was not a past state president. Oscar started the
Pre-School Vision Program at this time, which continues today, helping thousands
and thousands of children throughout California and Hawaii.
In 1976 Oscar was named "Man of the Year" for 1975-1976 by the State Association.
In 1978 he was elected as Grand Inner Guard for our great order, the first Grand
Lodge Officer from Orange Lodge. Oscar was singled out as Honorary State President
For over twenty years, until retiring in 1996, Oscar served as District Leader for
the Orange Coast District, being ably assisted by his close friend Dr. Robert Robb
from Garden Grove Lodge No. 1952.
In addition to Oscar's involvement in Elkdom, he was a member of the 20-30 Club,
the Orange Lion's Club, and the Orange Rotary. Oscar served three years as a
Trustee for Orange High School, and was Chairman of the City of Orange Recreation
Commission for five years.
Oscar died March 18, 1996 in Orange, California.