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Rollin E. Wehman

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Date published: 2/24/2014

Rollin E. Wehman

Rollin Edward "Ron" Wehman 74, of Fredericksburg passed away peacefully in his home in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.

Mr. Wehman, known to everyone as "Ron," was the founder and general manager of Riverside Dinner Theater and Conference Center in Stafford County.

Born in Charleston, S.C., Mr. Wehman and his mother moved to Fredericksburg when he was 10 years old, after the death of his father. His mother taught piano and gave him his musical background. In later years, that early training in classical piano provided many area churches with music, where he directed, staged and conducted sacred music.

Mr. Wehman was a person with very strong religious convictions that were fostered by his parents in Charleston and later by his mother; her sister, Edna; and Edna's husband, Bob, in Fredericksburg. His childhood experiences and involvement in both The Citadel Square Baptist Church of Charleston and Fredericksburg Baptist Church shaped his convictions. Mr. Wehman's participation in the choirs of these two churches developed his talent for singing and organ playing.

As a performer, he appeared as tenor soloist with the American Light Opera Company, Alexandria Chorale and National Oratorio Society. He appeared in many musical roles and stage productions throughout the years. His vision to encourage young schoolchildren to know and to love the theater, led to the creation of the Riverside Summer Camp and the Riverside Foundation for the Performing Arts, where underprivileged schoolchildren could experience the drama of the performing arts.

Mr. Wehman was a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He received his Master of Business Administration from George Washington University in finance. He was a former executive with the Department of Defense and co-founder of an engineering firm specializing in human space exploration analysis.

In the 1960s, Mr. Wehman organized, orchestrated and conducted a show band called "The Group and Company" that played throughout Virginia and at the White House. He moved from this venue to create the General Washington Dinner Theater in Fredericksburg, whose musical productions were always accompanied by live music. Mr. Wehman also composed a religious cantata about a biblical patron of the synagogue asking Jesus to heal his dying daughter, which he entitled "Jairus." His production of "Jarius" is still dear to the hearts of many who either heard or participated in the production.

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