Justice Robert E. Lavender

Justice Robert E. Lavender was born in Muskogee on July 19, 1926. As a child growing up in Oklahoma, he spent his years in Tulsa and also got a healthy dose of country life on a farm near Catoosa in Rogers County. He graduated from Catoosa High School in 1944 and entered military service the same year, serving in the U.S. Naval Reserve in the South Pacific during World War II. After his service during the war, he enrolled at the University of Tulsa in 1946, and went on to obtain his law degree in 1953. During his college years, he got an early start to his legal career working as an assistant court clerk in the District and Common Pleas courts in Tulsa County. After obtaining his law degree, he served as Assistant City Attorney in Tulsa before entering private practice. He was practicing law in Claremore, Oklahoma, when he was appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court by Governor Henry Bellmon in 1965. He served a two-year term as Chief Justice from 1979-81. Justice Lavender served on the Supreme Court from June 24, 1965, until his retirement on July 31, 2007, making him the longest serving justice in the history of the Court, surpassing Justice Denver Davidson, who served from August 7, 1937 to August 7, 1978. Justice Lavender is a 32nd Degree Mason as well as a member of the Claremore American Legion Post. He was presented the first annual Faculty and Alumni Award of the University of Tulsa College Of Law in 1975 and in 1993 he received an award as a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Tulsa, class of 1953.