Robert E. Lavender

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Robert E. Lavender (born July 19, 1926) is a former Justice on the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and was appointed to the Court's District 1 seat by Governor Henry Bellmon in 1966, and was retained by the voters later that year and subsequently in 1972, 1978, 1984, 1990, 1996, and 2002. He served as the Court's Chief Justice from 1979 to 1981.[1]

He was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and grew up in Tulsa and on a farm in Catoosa. During the final year of World War II, he served in the United States Navy, on reserve duty in the South Pacific. In 1953, he earned an LLB degree from the University of Tulsa.[2]

He retired from the Oklahoma Supreme Court on August 1, 2007. Governor Brad Henry appointed John F. Reif to succeed Justice Lavender.[citation needed]


Robert married Maxine Knight on December 22, 1945. The couple had met while both were attending Catoosa High School. She continued her education to earn a B. S. in Education in 1950 and an M. S. in Education in 1951, both at Central University. She then earned certification for elementary education learning disabilities, visually impaired, deaf-blind, and multi-handicapped at East Central University. She made her career as a child development specialist at the Child Study Center, Children's Hospital. Retiring after twenty years at the hospital, she became a consultant for blind and visually-impaired in school districts surrounding the hospital. She died March 5, 2010.[3]