Lee is a native of Greenbrier County. After completing Lewisburg High School, he went on to attend WVU where he majored in Music Education and was Feature Twirler for the WVU Marching Band. Upon graduation from WVU, he returned to his home town of Lewisburg and became Band Director of Lewisburg High School.
When the high school consolidation happened (Greenbrier East) Lee became the first Band Director and led the band to many awards. In addition to his musical talents, Lee was also instrumental in the development of what is now Greenbrier Valley Theater which started out as ‘The Tent’ along the Greenbrier River in Caldwell and then went on to become ‘The Barn’ and later became the Greenbrier Valley Theater.
After teaching at Greenbrier East, Lee went on to New York City where he was music director for ‘Out of This World’ on off Broadway. That took him to Washington, DC, where he became the Music Director for ‘Lazy Susan Dinner Theater’ and Director & Music Director for many Community and Professional theater productions.
Lee then decided to go back to the education system and became Band Director as well as Theater Director and Dance Instructor for Lewis County High School. In 1977, Lee and Mark decided to return to Lewisburg and open an Interior Design Studio. Lee also became pianist / organist for ‘The Greenbrier’ playing afternoon Tea as well as Dinner Music in the Main Dining Room.
Washington called him to return again and Direct and Music Direct many award-winning productions.
Along the way, Lee became an accomplished organist in Lewisburg where he played for Clifton Presbyterian and Old Stone Presbyterian Churches. After returning back to the area and opening an Antique shop in Lewisburg and then moving it to White Sulphur, where he proudly calls home, he became Organist for Emmanuel United Methodist Church in White Sulphur.
In 2015, Lee became very ill and require not just one transplant but two (liver & kidney) at the same time. The doctors at the University of Pittsburgh later informed him he was merely hours from losing his life. The devastating flood of 2016 brought even more challenges when he lost everything as he lived right beside Howards Creek. But there were other plans for Lee. He survived and is a healthy 80 years old on March 1, 2023!
For his foundational contributions to music, education, and the arts in the Greenbrier Valley, we are proud to name Lee Gillespie as the certified Real West Virginian of the Week.