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E Reid Gilbert

November 15, 1930 - May 28, 2022
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Brandon Solarez

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E Reid Gilbert

November 15, 1930 - May 28, 2022

E. Reid Gilbert was born on November 15, 1930 to Stella and Peter Gilbert in Winston Salem, North Carolina.  Reid passed away on May 28, 2022, in Tucson, Arizona.

Reid attended several colleges: Brevard College AA, 1951; Duke University BA, 1953; Southern Methodist University ThM, 1956; Union Seminary (NYC) STM, 1964; University of Wisconsin (Madison) PhD, 1971.

He served several Methodist pastorates in Indiana, New Jersey and Wisconsin as well as serving as Assistant Pastor of the First Unitarian-Universalist Church in Madison, Wisconsin.

In addition to the formal degree programs, Reid studied privately with several master teachers: storytelling with Richard Chase, modern dance with Charles Weidman, mime with Etienne Decroux and Japanese Noh with Sidayo Kita.

He was awarded two Fulbright Fellowships; he researched theatre training and taught mime at the National School of Drama in India and taught folklore at Mahasarakam University in Thailand.  He also earlier researched folklore in the Appalachian Mountains and Mummers’ plays in England.

After his college education, he taught theatre at Union College (KY), Lambuth College (TN), and the Ohio State University.  He was guest professor at various institutions including the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

In the theatre world, Dr. Gilbert wrote multiple scripts as well as directed, produced and acted in numerous productions, ranging from Japanese and Shakespeare to Commedia del’Arte and international scripts.  He will be most widely remembered as the Founder and Director of the Valley Studio and Wisconsin School of Mime, which the New York Times in 1976 reported to be the “center of mime training in the US.” He was Co-Director of the Festival of American Mime at the Milwaukee Performing Art Center in 1979.  From 1975 to 1979 he served as Administrator of the International Mimes and Pantomimists (IMP). He was a long-time member of the National Theatre Conference.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brother, Arthur Gilbert, and his sister, Sue Quay.  Surviving are his three daughters; Tari Gilbert (Sarah Ewing) CA, Adrienne Ramirez (Jesus) WI and Karen Gilbert (Tim DeVries) WI and six grandchildren.  He is also survived by his dear friend and companion Barbara Every Banks and his younger sister Evelyn Gottenstrater (William) Walnut Cove, NC.

At the time of his death, he had just completed writing his 14th book, a movement manual for actors entitled “Embodying the Word: Gesture with Text.”

In lieu of flowers the family suggests a donation to the charity of your choice. He donated to so many organizations, we couldn’t recommend just one.

A celebration of his life will be held on August 6, 2022 at 10 am at St. Francis in The Foothills United Methodist Church, 4625 E River Rd, Tucson. The service will available on Zoom. If you’re interested in attending via Zoom, please send an email to and you will be sent a link. His ashes will be interred at his family church in North Carolina in October.

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