Local arts staple passes away

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - The local arts community is saying goodbye to one of their own. John Lee spent a number of years on stage in New York City and was a staple in the Mid-Ohio Valley theater world.

He graduated from Parkersburg High School in the 1940s before heading off to WVU and New York. Returning to Parkersburg in the 1960s, he was the head of the drama department at PHS.

There, he inspired and mentored many aspiring young actors. Lee appeared in many plays at the Actors Guild over the years.

His friends and colleagues say he will be dearly missed.

"The amount of respect he earned from his students was huge. He followed those relationships well past the experience on stage. You know, he was invested in his students," said his friend and colleague, Brian Turrill.

Another friend and colleague of his said Lee was one of a kind.

"Parkersburg was able to reap the benefits of what John Lee had to give. It was a lot. I think it depends on who you are and how old you are. He is irreplaceable," said Felice Jorgeson.

Jorgeson works at the Smoot Theater, a place where John Lee spent most of his time.

Lee passed away Wednesday evening and funeral arrangements have not been made yet.

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