Cover photo for Jerry Muskrat's Obituary
Jerry Muskrat Profile Photo
1941 Jerry 2022

Jerry Muskrat

October 2, 1941 — February 27, 2022


Jerry F. Muskrat, 80, of Greensburg, died Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. He was born Oct. 2, 1941, in Evanston, Ill., a son of the late Frank R. and Leana Corliss Muskrat. He is preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Joseph Muskrat. Jerry grew up in Bartlesville, Okla., and graduated from Bartlesville High School. He attended the University of Oklahoma completing an undergraduate and Master's degree. He earned his law degree from Harvard Law School. He was an associate law professor at the University of Oklahoma, College of Law, before accepting an appointment as an appeals judge for the department of the interior board of Indian appeals. He served as an appeals court judge with the defense department before accepting a position as an administrative law judge, stationed in San Diego, Calif., a position he would hold until his retirement. He then relocated to Greensburg to be closer to his wife's family. Jerry was a Native American-Cherokee. He was a member of the First Family of the Cherokee Nation. An honor given to those whose lineage can be traced back to the Trail of Tears. He was very active in Native American Affairs throughout his career. While at OU, he served as the director of the Center of Indian Law-Ethnic Studies. He served as general council to the presidential commission on Indian Reservation Economies, and also served as an attorney with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Jerry served proudly as a board member for Americans for Indian Opportunities since 1972. Jerry was a veteran having served as an officer in the Army assigned to the staff of the commanding general, Fort Sill, Okla. He is survived by his loving wife of 35 years, Raphelia Spisso; two faithful companions, Franklin and Eleanor; two children, Kristi Meyers (Adam), and Curtis Muskrat Bruhel (Jamie), both of Norman Okla.; five grandchildren, McKenzie and Peyton Meyers, Ellie, MaryBret, and Will Bruhel; and several nieces and nephews and in-laws. He was surrounded by love and will be deeply missed. There will be no public viewing service. Jerry's family has entrusted his care to CLEMENT L. PANTALONE FUNERAL HOME INC., 409 W. Pittsburgh Street, Greensburg, PA 15601, 724-837-0020. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Americans for Indian Opportunities ( or plant a tree in his memory. For online condolences-directions, visit us at, Natale N. Pantalone, supervisor.

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