E. Phil and Roberta L. Kirschner

E. Phil and Roberta L. Kirschner

The son of a Polish immigrant, a young Phil Kirschner moved to Muskogee with his family in 1905, the same year oil was discovered in Oklahoma. While he earned a scholarship to the University of Chicago, finances kept him in Muskogee to help with the family's mercantile business. Eventually, the thrill of discovering oil was too much to resist and, by the age of 22, Phil had drilled his first well.

In the early 1900s, Roberta's family moved to Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, where her father set up shop as a merchant. After high school, she attended William Woods College in Fulton, Missouri. Following the death of her first husband in 1937, Roberta moved back to the Muskogee area with her young daughter, Miriam. While Roberta was shopping in the Kirschner store one day, Phil's mother pointed her out and told Phil she was the type of woman he should marry. Phil soon became a persistent suitor, and in 1954, the couple married.

Together, Phil and Roberta became quiet philanthropists, focusing much of their charitable giving on nonprofit organizations in and around the Muskogee area. After Phil’s death in 1981, several charitable trusts were established to ensure their charitable legacy would live on. Roberta's daughter, Miriam Freedman, assisted her mother and continued administering the trusts after Roberta's death in 1985.

In 2013, after overseeing the family’s foundation for more than 30 years, Miriam transferred the Kirschner Trusts to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation where they continue to support charitable causes important to the family including Muskogee-area nonprofits, Jewish education programs and opportunities for foster children.

Read more:
- E. Phil and Roberta Kirschner Foundation Affiliated Fund
- A Family Legacy Blooms

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