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1954 Raymond 2023

Raymond Lee

August 25, 1954 — April 19, 2023

Dr. Raymond Barnet Lee, 68, “Affable and Loving” …Retired Emeritus Professor of Theatre, Stage Director, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Friend, Colleague, and Mentor … departed this life as Shakespeare noted by “Shuffling off this Mortal Coil” on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, after long suffering from congenital heart disease that forced him into an early retirement.

Dr. Lee was born in Rahway, NJ on August 25, 1954 and was the son of the late Richard William Lee (an army survivor of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941), and the late Dorothy Bone Lee. He is survived by his loving wife of many years Freddi Keller Lee.

A high school dropout, Dr. Lee left New York City in 1974 by train for the Midwest with 100 dollars in his pocket and an old blue suitcase determined to get a college education. By sheer determination he won admittance to university, where he worked at every conceivable job to put himself through school– construction, house painting, custodial services, selling office supplies, grounds keeping, even cleaning out sewers. Along the way he won 3 full scholarships to college, obtained two college teaching positions, and was awarded a PhD fellowship. After 13 years of arduous work, Dr. Lee left the Midwest in his little red sports car with a Ph.D. in Theatre History to begin teaching for the University of South Carolina at the Spartanburg campus.  Dr. Lee had a B.A. in Theatre Studies from Missouri Southern University, a M.A. in Communication from The U. of A., and a Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University in Ohio in Theatre History.

Dr. Lee spent 30 years in the college classroom, teaching classes in theatre history, dramatic literature, and theatre criticism at the University of Arkansas, Bowling Green University, the University of South Carolina Upstate, Converse College Winter Term Program, and the University of South Carolina System campuses. In addition, he spent a year abroad as a Byrnes Professor of International Studies teaching graduate classes at Pusan National University in South Korea and lecturing at the United States Embassy.

In addition to Theatre classes, he dearly loved being a faculty member of the USC-Upstate Communication program where he taught classes in Mass Media and Society, Review Writing, Senior Seminar and enthusiastically encouraged thousands of students to overcome their fear of “speaking in public” by teaching with good humor and genuine devotion…more than 100 sections of Public Address 201. (And he lived to tell the tale!)

Dr. Lee was an accomplished musical theatre director, and member of the Stage Director’s and Chorographer’s Union (SDC) in New York City. He directed or wrote more than 70 Musicals, Plays, and Operas in a 35 year career that included working at venues such as the Celebration Children’s Theatre, the Cleveland/Toledo Opera, the Huron Playhouse, the Spartanburg Little Theatre, the Warehouse Theatre, and the Klaipeda Drama Theatre, as well as with the Shoestring Players at USC-Upstate where he directed many memorable musical theatre productions including …Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, Tommy, Pippin, Little Shop of Horrors, and Cabaret.

Left to cherish his memory along with his wife, Freddi, three children, Michael (Angela), Keller and Liza (Jonathan); four grandchildren, William, Mercy, Madeline, and Thomas; sister Bette Ostrander and husband Ron of Barnegat NJ, sister Shirley Syanyi of New Jersey, nephew Aaron Ostrander of Barnegat NJ, niece Kristine DeRobertis and husband Robert of Mooresville, NC. He was preceded in death by a sisters, Constance Lee and  Susan Wooley.

Visitation will start at 5:00PM, Tuesday, April 25, 2023, at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel, 2075 East Main Street, Spartanburg, SC, 29307, with a Celebration of Life at 5:45 PM.  Graveside service will be at 10:00AM, Wednesday April 26, 2023, at Nazareth Presbyterian Church Cemetery, 680 Nazareth Church Road, Moore, SC, 29369, conducted by The Rev. Debra Apoldo.

Flowers will be accepted, or memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 901 S. Pine Street, Spartanburg, SC, 29302 or online at www.alz.org.

Please remember our Husband, Dad, “Bop Bop”/Grandad, Mentor, Theatre Guy and ole College Professor as he was in life and do not mourn his passing- for as Shakespeare reminds us: “Thou know’st ‘tis common; all that lives must die, passing through nature into eternity.”

Farewell old Friend.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation to start

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Starts at 5:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Celebration of Life Memorial Service

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Starts at 5:45 pm (Eastern time)

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Graveside Service

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Nazareth Presbyterian Church Cemetery

680 Nazareth Church Rd, Moore, SC 29369

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