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Oklahoma Family Tree Stories

This beautiful sculpture of three redbud trees with gold and silver leaves by artist Robin Starke is located just outside the Eleanor and John Kirkpatrick Research Center in the Oklahoma History Center. Each leaf of the Oklahoma Family Tree memorializes an Oklahoma family with the family surname, first name(s), and the town or county where they lived. In addition, a short family history will be preserved in the digital family history book at the base of the tree. This is a great way for your family to make history and benefit future generations at the same time. To find out how to honor your own family with a leaf visit the Oklahoma Family Tree Project page.

Strubhar Family

The Strubhar family in Oklahoma began in 1963 with the marriage of Richard D. Strubhar to Reta M. Chaney in Bartlesville.

Richard was the son of Rev. Lester D. Strubhar and Margaret Elda Hammer Strubhar of Estherville, Iowa. Reta was the daughter of Maurice Lee Chaney and Mary Loretta Camron Chaney of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Mary Loretta Chaney was born in Atoka, Oklahoma, in 1920 to Walter Lee Camron and Ora Lee Fitzpatrick Camron. Walter Lee and Ora Lee were married in 1903 in Indian Territory. Maurice Lee Chaney was born in 1921. He was the son of Roscoe Conklin Chaney and Agnes Mae Cogswell Chaney of Hunter, Garfield County, Oklahoma.

After Richard and Reta were married, they both worked for the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover. They returned to Oklahoma, and Richard worked for Crum and Forster as a claims adjustor and attended night law school at Oklahoma City University. After his graduation in 1969, he began the practice of law in Yukon, Oklahoma. Throughout the next several years, he was in private practice, worked in the Canadian County district attorney's office and served as Canadian County’s public defender. He then pursued his other interests in ranching and commercial and residential development in Canadian County.

Reta taught high school English at Grant High School in Oklahoma City and then Mustang, Oklahoma. During this time, she attended night law school at Oklahoma City University and graduated in 1981. She then became the first woman attorney to work in the district attorney's office in Canadian County. In 1984 she was appointed by Governor George Nigh to serve as the first female judge in the District Court of Canadian County.

In 1993 Reta was appointed by Governor David Walters to serve as a judge on the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. She was the first woman to serve on this Court since its formation in 1907. She subsequently became presiding judge of the court in 1999. At the request of US Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, she served as the only state judge on the Federal Criminal Rules Committee. Governor Frank Keating declared January 16, 2001, Reta M. Strubhar Day in the state of Oklahoma.

Since 1969 the Strubhars have lived in Canadian County. They have three children: Khristan, an attorney, who also worked in the Canadian County district attorney’s office and is now in private practice in Yukon; Rustin, an attorney who worked for the Oklahoma City firm of Crowe & Dunlevy and is now in private practice in Oklahoma City; Michael, an immigration officer with ICE, US Homeland Security in Oklahoma City. They have nine grandchildren. All live in Canadian County.

Beginning with the Fitzpatricks in 1901, this family has been proud residents of Oklahoma!

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