Santa Maria Elks Names First Woman Leader

New Era Begins with Karen Feldpouch

For the first time in its 89-year history, the Santa Maria Elks Lodge has appointed a female as its Exalted Ruler. Karen Feldpouch, a 14-year member of the club, will be appointed Saturday to the highest leadership position within the lodge’s local hierarchy for the 2016-2017 fraternal year.

“I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself,” said Feldpouch when asked why she first joined the lodge — and “make new friends” and “do charitable work.” Working her way up through five officer positions, she most recently served as Chaplain. “They never really considered having a woman as an officer,” said Feldpouch. “I did well,” which prompted her being named a candidate in this year’s election.

Karen Feldpouch
Click to enlarge photo


Karen Feldpouch

The largest lodge in California and Hawaii combined, the Santa Maria lodge has lagged behind many others that have appointed female leaders. “This lodge has been a diehard hold out of old school, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Feldpouch, but the organization was dying out due to lack of membership. In the mid-1990s, the Santa Maria Elks let women be involved. In the years since, they’ve been “thriving” and “very supportive,” she said.

This year, Feldpouch intends to expand the Elks Rodeo and increase the lodge’s community engagement. She wants to involve younger members — kids and families — and would “love to see more women officers come in.”

The initiation ceremony takes place Saturday, April 2 at 4:45 p.m. in the Lodge Room of the Santa Maria Elks Lodge located at 1309 North Bradley. It’s open to the public.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Body of Los Angeles Firefighter Found in Montecito Mountains

Captain Wayne Habell had been reported missing on August 13.

Natural Disaster Federal Loan Update

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers low rates.

Laura’s Law Program Praised by County 

The Assisted Outpatient Treatment program tackles serious mental-health issues.

Front Fire Tops 1,000 Acres in Los Padres National Forest

Containment was estimated at 5% on Monday morning.

Runner-Up Protests City Pot Pick

SGSB says retail selection result was "manifestly unfair."