Robinson, Kerry Lee
Birth: Sunday, January 23, 1955 in Takoma Park, Maryland
Residence: Thomas, West
Death: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at the age of 63
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Kerry Lee Robinson, 63, of Thomas, WV, formerly of St. Mary's County, died July 26, 2018 at his home. Born Jan. 23, 1955 in Takoma Park, MD, he was the son of Raymond Bennett Robinson and Marjorie Alice (Sehorn) Robinson. He is survived by his daughter, Cassie Lee Robinson [David]; grandchildren Jazzmyn Lee Hinz, Mikayla Lee Cartwright and Adrienne Lee Cartwright of Thomas WV; one brother, Rick Robinson [Kathy] of Vermont; nephews Eric and Michael Pond; and nieces Rachel Pond, Gabriel and Tristan Robinson. In addition to his parents, Kerry Lee was predeceased by his loving wife, Nancy Marie (Zeh) Robinson; and sister, Janice Martinez.
A 1973 graduate of Chopticon High School, Kerry was involved in the Chamber Singers, All State Chorus and All Eastern Chorus. He performed in school plays all four years he was at Chopticon and participated in basketball, SCA, Social Studies Seminar, Chess Club, tennis, Thespians, National Honor Society, served as a Senatorial Page, received a NMS Letter of Commendation and was voted an Outstanding Teenager of America. As a theater major at St. Mary's College he directed impressive versions of Godspell and Gilgamesh. In the early-to-mid 1980s, he was active with the Peace Corps and worked for flood relief victims in early 1990s.
Kerry Lee was an activist and musician, but it his love of theater for which he will be most remembered. He joined Circus America as a teenager which he called the "ultimate theater." In addition to being props manager he was the official "pooper scooper" for the elephants. Kerry related in later years that he was fascinated by the circus clowns, who despite being jovial during performances were among the saddest, most depressed people he had ever met when not wearing their make-up. His sister Janice, a single mom with three young children, traveled part of the way with him across the country in Kerry's little Fiat during his summer with the circus.
Kerry worked for a time with his father in Robbie's Arts & Crafts on Great Mills Road in Lexington Park. When his family lived in Gaithersburg he worked for RAM and then returned to St. Mary's County to work for BDM in the 1980s. He worked as a radio disc jockey for 97.7 FM, delivered newspapers for The Enterprise and The Washington Post and did computer programming and maintenance for Historic St. Mary's City. In recent years he worked at the public library in Thomas, WVa.
It was the theater, however, where Kerry Lee felt most at home, and even with Multiple Sclerosis and other physical ailments, he continued his involvement with the theater throughout his life, working with St. Mary's Community Theater in the 1970s. Over the years he would become associated with Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA, the Alden and National Theater. When he lived briefly in New York, he befriended Didi Conn who appeared as the "pink-haired girl" in the movie version of "Grease." She felt safe with Kerry and would ride the subway with him and walk with him to the sets. He was one of the principal players in the formation of the Newtowne Players Theater group in Lexington Park and the Three Notch Theater.
NTP founder Wendy Heidrich stated that she first met Kerry when she put an ad in The Enterprise for open auditions for "Love Letters," a play written by Gurney, in 2002. "We were going to produce it at Nook and Monk's restaurant in Leonardtown on the square," Heidrich recalled. "From there we created a group that went on to produce 'Inspecting Carol' in the basement of the Doo Dah Deli. Maria Perrigo and her family allowed us to use their space and were very gracious and kind to us. After the success of 'Inspecting Carol' we went to the Leonardtown Council in hopes to start a theater project in an old mechanic's garage in Leonardtown.
Kerry and Dave Groupe were instrumental in putting together an elaborate one-to-10 year plan with diagrams and financial projections. I did an economic impact study and submitted that, but in the end we were turned down. Soon we were informed that there was the vacated library [in Lexington Park]. The small group of the founding members of the players went and checked out the library and found it to be very suitable space for a theater. By then we had a board of founding members and we came up with the name Three Notch Theater, home of the Newtowne Players. Kerry continued to direct and give us great insight on his background and abilities as a director actor performer. He and his wife Nancy were great supporters and I love them both and will mourn their passing." The premier production at Three Notch Theater April 1, 2005 was "Cheaters" directed by Kerry Lee. He leaves behind many dear friends who knew him through his activism, his love of music and the arts.
Arrangements are by Hinkle Funeral Home, Davis, WVa. A memorial service is being planned for a future date in St. Mary's County.