Vivian Marshall and Rob Morris Memorial Music Award

The Rob Morris Society established this Award in memory of Dr. Rob Morris and Mrs. Vivian Marshall to preserve the legacy of scholarships the society made as part of the Order of the Eastern Star.

By the mid 1800’s, Dr. Rob Morris was a well-educated lawyer, lecturer, educator, and a Freemason in the Eastern United States. He was impressed with the ideals and concepts of Freemasonry and wanted to share them with the wives and close female relatives of its members. He set out, with his wife, to develop an Order that would benefit men and women. By 1850, he had systemized the degrees, themes, and substance of the Order of the Easter Star. These have remained, with adjustments, to this day. Dr. Morris is known as the “Master Builder of the Order of the Eastern Star”.

Vivian Marguerite Johnston was born to Frederick Alexander Johnston and Olive Monroe on January 17, 1903 in Mooretown, Ontario. Vivian had a little brother, Ralph Munroe Johnston. The family moved to British Columbia when Vivian was 10 years old. Fred started working in the logging industry and ended his career as a real estate salesman.

Vivian’s mother passed away in 1955 and her father passed away in 1959. Ralph, her brother, lived in Seattle, Washington with his wife, Margaretta (known as Etta). Ralph registered for the war in February 1942 at the age of 37. He passed away in 1983 and Etta died in 2001.

Vivian, age 35, became engaged to Whitney Reginald Rutherford Marshall, age 36, and they were married on July 5, 1939. They resided in New Westminster and Coquitlam for many years. They had no children. Vivian was a teacher and Whitney was a mill worker. He was a Mason and one can assume that Vivian joined the Order of the Eastern Star after she was married.

In 1943, Vivian served as the President of the Toronto Conservatory (Vancouver Chapter). Throughout the 1950s, Vivian continued to teach and would sing at weddings and funerals as well as play the organ. In 1960, she was the Grand Guardian of International Order of Job’s Daughters and she was very involved in visits throughout Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland. In September 1960, there was a tour on the Island with the Supreme Guardian of Virginia to Bethels from Victoria, Vancouver, Courtenay, Ladysmith, Campbell River, Port Alberni, Langford, and Duncan. At the special meeting, Bethel 11 hosted 100 Jobies along with 150 others. In the Nanaimo Daily News, dated September 16, 1960 “…she complimented Honoured Queen Eleanor Fiddick and her officers for their beautiful and dignified manner of exemplifying their work.” In 1963, Vivian sat on the Guardian Council for Job’s Daughters and at the 15th Annual Sessions, held at Marpole Community Centre, more than 200 adults and 500 girls were present. She was the Grand Representative to South Dakota in 1966 and Grand Organist in 1967 for Sister J. E. Fletcher, Worthy Grand Matron and Brother Alfred Gatz, Worthy Grand Patron. The 55th Annual Grand Chapter Sessions was held at Esquimalt. She continued to play for installations for the Jobies all through the 1960s. Sister Vivian Marshall passed away on December 9, 1983 in hospital.

Originally, the award was funded jointly by Brother Whitney Marshall, the Rob Morris Society and by individuals, Eastern Star Chapters and groups. As of April 2022, the award was transferred from the hands of the Order of the Eastern Star to the University of Victoria to benefit students in the School of Music.

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