There is no adequate way to document the contributions that Robert Rehm made to the San Antonio theater community, his former students at Jefferson High School’s Fine Arts Magnet Academy, and Cornyation, where he was a skit designer since the mid ’80s. Except perhaps the scholarship, established in his name, that supports the college education of theater-arts students from San Antonio. Rehm passed away January 4. This is our rolling document of his community’s memories and sorrow, collected from social media. If you have a memory, thought or photo you’d like to share, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My heart is heavy. Tonight I learned that a colleague, inspiration and friend has passed. 11 years ago, I was working on a project with Jump-Start Performance Co. where I would wear my first pair of heels. John McBurney showed up with a bunch of options, but like a baby deer, my steps were shaky and awkward. Robert Rehm, who was playing a crazy Davy Crockett inspired drag character in the show, came to my rescue and showed me how it was done. This life skill has become such a huge part of my performance style and one of the many things I learned from Robert. He also taught me that you could learn to do anything you put your mind to.
That show was the last show I did with Robert before the accident that left him quadriplegic. The accident brought him many challenges that he faced head on. He continued to create art on grand scale. He continued to direct, to perform and even created gorgeous visual art and graphic design with the use of his mouth and the wheels of his wheelchair. He was funny, giving, loving and I will forever miss him.
I’d like to think that he’s looking down at us smiling as he sorts through all of the new heels he earned today. I am sending light and love to all of my Jump-Start family and friends as they begin to heal and I am surrounding his beautiful Sister and long time nurse, Susan with nothing but love and admiration.
Rest well, sweet Robert.
– Dino Foxx
Steve Newman and I had the privilege of spending Cornyation with Robert Rehm. He was creative, inspiring and down right hilarious. His passing is a loss for San Antonio and all who love him. Godspeed Friend
– Jody Bailey Newman, Queen Anchovy I
@Cornyation: Our Cornyation family mourns the loss of a legend. Rest well, Robert Rehm – friend, mentor, and designer sui generis.
The entire San Antonio Theatre community mourns the loss of Robert Rehm, you were such an inspiration to so many of us and you will be greatly missed. Rest in Peace my friend.
– Richard David Anthony
A friend of mine died. He was my teacher first. His name was Robert. But I could never call him anything but Mr. Rehm.
The stage has gone dim.
– Kareem Dahab
Cornyation won’t be the same. Robert is designing crazy shit with Danny Geisler right now.
– S.T. Shimi
So sad to hear of the loss of our dear friend Robert Rehm. Robert was one of the most talented people I’ve ever known. I will never forget all of our fun times together, and how you inspired me to become a performer. Rest in Peace sweetheart. You will be so missed by so many.
– Annele Spector
A wonderful and incredible man has left us this evening. Mr. Robert Rehm passed earlier tonight leaving a vast hole in the theater and arts community. I had the honor of working with him this past Fiesta. Cornyation will never be the same.
– Joey Palacios
If you could never move your body below your neck ever again, what would you do with your life?
My high school drama teacher, Robert Rehm, died at 61 on Sunday night. The accident that left him quadriplegic is well known. But it’s just as well known that he still directed plays, performed and even taught himself to paint using his mouth while confined to a wheelchair.
I am sad the world no longer has Robert Rehm, but I’m still inspired by his greatness. I optimistically look forward to my own artistic life with his memory still fresh in my mind. I will praise him with every performance. Where ever he is now, he is no longer confined. And that makes me happy.
– Kareem Dahab
When Stu and I moved to San Antonio in 1979, I met Robert Rehm when I got my first job with Alias Artists. He was the graphic artist at the firm and I said I was a copywriter, and they hired me. I had never been a copywriter, and Robert knew my secret. He was funny, creative and one of a kind. Oh what fun we had when we were young. When I was expecting my first child, he brought me back sacred soil from Chimayo, NM, which I took to delivery with me and I still have. As Stu was traveling at the time Robert even agreed to be there if I went in to labor. Stu and I left San Antonio in 1989, and Robert and I lost touch. I reconnected through Facebook several years ago, and I learned of his accident. Stu and I got to visit him again in 2013. We are going back to San Antonio this spring, and I will miss him. But, from the earthly bonds he is free. What a powerful force who never stopped loving, laughing and creating. God bless you my friend. We will still laugh in our hearts.
– Megan Hollowell Summers