Life At Kalaupapa

Atlas holding up the world



    "No trace of distortion," was the report of A. S. Chung, Mutual operator at Lanai City, and Mr. Vanatta at Kohala, Hawaii, found the new signal a great improvement.

    R. L. (Doc) Cooke, an old navy radio man now superintendent of the Molokai settlement, sent the warmest congratulations that could be put over. "Pom Sat," he radioed. This is the message that a navy officer would send meaning , "Personnel, Operations and Materials Satisfactory." They do not go beyond this in the navy.


    Other messages of congratulations were received from Herbert C. Shipman, Puuoo, Hawaii; Goldie Charlock, Hilo; Theodore Vredenberg, Kamuela, Hawaii; Kihoi and Maertens family at Kamuela; Mr. Watt, manager of Kohala plantation; George Ross, assistant manager Hakalau plantation; Leslie Wishard, Kohala Hawaii; Mr. Lindsay at Honokaa; Jack Walsh at the Grand Hotel and Jack Morrow, editor of the Maui News at Wailuku; Senator George Cooke at Kauluwai, Molokai; Eddie....



Local Aviator Takes Star-Bulletins to Molokai; Supt. Cooke Flies Back


    A flight regarded as the forerunner of daily commercial aviation service between Honolulu and Molokai was made in the brief space of 1 hour 58 minutes this morning by Martin Jensen, local sky pilot who will be an entrant in the mainland-Honolulu non-stop hop for he James D. Dole prizes.

    Incidentally, residents of the Kalaupapa leper settlement at 10:12 o'clock today were reading copies of Tuesday's Star-Bulletin sent specially by this newspaper, in addition to its regular mail delivery by steamer earlier in the morning.

    And R. L. ("Doc") Cooke, superintendent of the settlement, who received a letter from the Star-Bulletin by airplane at 10:20 o'clock, acknowledged its receipt by telephone at Honolulu 38 minutes later.



Territory of Hawaii


No d'ordre 13

January 28th 1936

Ralph. L. Cooke. Esq.
Superintendent of the Leper Settlement
Kalaupapa. Molokai

In the name of His Majesty, Kin Leopold III of Belgium, in the name of His Government as well as in my own, I wish to extend to you our very sincere thanks and appreciation for your very efficient help in connection with the removal of the Reverend Father Damien's mortal remains from Kalawao, Molokai.

The arrangements you made to bring this task to an end were absolutely perfect in all their details, they have been highly praised by all those who were present on this occasion.

I have taken great pride in mentioning your good work in my report to our Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Very respectfully yours,

Victor. H. Lappe.
Consul of Belgium
Honolulu. T. - H."


Robert L. Cooke, superintendent of the colony of Molokai, Hawaiian Islands, is a visitor in Los Angeles to enjoy his first vacation in twenty-one years.  He is accompanied by his wife and registered at the Hollywood Knickerbocker.

Amazed at the growth and changes he finds here, Cooke is particularly impressed by the shipping and commercial activity at the harbor.

“The Los Angeles of today is an entirely different city than the Los Angeles I remember twenty-one years ago,” he remarked.

Cooke recently achieved prominence when he arranged for the remains of Father Damien to be removed from the colony of Molokai to Belgium.


Government Official says Disease Baffling to Science

R. L. Cook, superintendent of the Kalaupapa leper settlement on the Island of Molokai, and Mrs. Cook, were recently the guests of Castle Murphy, who was president of the L. D. S. mission in the Hawaiian Islands for the past six years, and Mrs. Murphy.  They were also guests of Mr. and Mrs. George Browning at their canyon home.  While in Utah, Mr. and Mrs. Cook were entertained by the Governor Heber J. Grant of the L. D. S. church.


During their stay in Ogden and Salt Lake City, they were shown all points of interest.  They also visited Yellowstone park.

Mr. and Mrs. Cook were delighted with Utah and expressed the desire to make their home here.

Mr. Cook has been superintendent of the Kalaupapa settlement of this leper island for the past 12 years and before his assignment there, was a naval officer in the air corps.  He says he has no fear of the dread disease, although scientists have been unable to determine how it is contracted.  The greatest drawback to the prevention of its spreading is the fact the Hawaiians have no concern over the disease and hide its victims from the law, making no isolation whatsoever.


He states that only half of the island of Molokai is set apart for lepers, in which about 400 victims are being treated by the government.  The other half of the island is used for pineapple raising and is fast becoming one of the outstanding pineapple centers of the world.

He stated that only two per cent of the cases are healed enough to release from quarantine and brought out the fact that leprous parents may have children without passing on the disease.  Most of the leper victims are Hawaiians, who have the least resistance to the disease.  They are a cheerful class of people as a whole and don’t seem to mind their plight to any great extent.


Extensive research work is being done to find the cause and cure of leprosy, but less progress has been made in this direction than in cancer.

Mr. and Mrs. Cook will visit the northwest and Vancouver before returning to their home.


Copyright ©2019 Jean Mayer Fogelberg & Leslie Mayer Holder