OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Honorable Rebecca A. Cryer was presiding over her docket as usual when she started to have trouble breathing and was immediately taken to the hospital.
“Her organs were failing, so we had to make the decision,” Aimie Black said.
Aimie Black tells KFOR the death of her mother happened so fast. Her 73-year-old mom went from texting her updates every day at Norman Regional to silence.
“You aren’t there, and you just don’t know!” Black said.
Cryer was fighting COVID-19 for less than two weeks. Once she was hooked up to the ventilator, it only took a few days for the virus to completely take over her body.
Doctors called Aimie with the news.
“She allowed us to go up there and say our goodbyes,” Black said.
Judge Cryer was a grandmother, a wife of 56 years and a notable attorney.
“It really just put a lump in my throat,” President of the Oklahoma Indian Bar Association Judge Arvo Mikkanen said.
Mikkanen, a longtime colleague and friend, said Cryer’s shoes as a judge will never be filled.
“It wasn’t for money or for the fame or for the glamour, but just because she felt like it was the right thing to do,” Judge Mikkanen said.
Judge Cryer has stared danger in the face before.
On the morning of April 19, 1995, Judge Cryer was working inside the Journal Record Building in downtown Oklahoma City when a bomb went off at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building next door.
She was severely injured with shards of glass covering her body.
“That was a huge part of her life, overcoming that adversity,” Judge Mikkanen said.
Judge Cryer went on to have a lengthy legal career and eventually worked her way up to District Judge of the Choctaw Nation.
This week, outside of the Choctaw Nation District Court, flags remained at half-staff and flowers were placed outside her courtroom.
Judge Cryer’s name is also etched on the Survivor Wall at the OKC National Museum and Memorial in downtown OKC.
“She was incredible, and she was a life taken way too soon,” Black said.
Rebecca was born in Shawnee, Okla., on Oct. 9, 1946. She leaves behind a loving husband, three children and five grandchildren.
Rebecca was awarded her Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma in 1977. Since then, she was admitted to the Oklahoma State Bar, the United State District Court for the Western and Eastern Districts of Oklahoma and the Choctaw Nation Bar.
During her long legal career, she served as staff attorney for Legal Aide of Western Oklahoma, worked in private practice, was an Assistant District Attorney for Cleveland and McClain Counties, served as an Enforcement Attorney with the Oklahoma Department of Securities, as Magistrate and then Appellate Magistrate for the Court of Indian Affairs (CFR), Southern Plains Region, and finally as a District Judge of the Choctaw Nation District Court.
She was a proud member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Shawnee and served as the Tribal Administrator in 1977 to 1978.
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