Hex-head of American Theater Assn.

Margaret ‘Skippy’ Lynn, a career U.S. Army professional who was instrumental in forming an overseas music and theater program for the Army and later headed the American Theater Assn., died of cancer June 11 in Reston, Va. She was 81.

With her leadership, the Army became one of the largest music and theater programs in the world, producing comedies, drama, Broadway musical revivals and variety shows.

Her military career spanning several decades began at the close of World War II when she became one of the first civilian “actress technicians” to work with troops to develop entertainment programs.

Lynn’s production venues were in close proximity to liberated Dachau and Nuremburg during war-crimes trials and often close to heavy artillery fire, particularly in the Korean War.

The efforts of the former Radio City Rockette facilitated the development of the Army Music and Theater Program in 1962.

As Army entertainment director and later chief executive officer, she set up workshops, showcases, traveling shows and competitions. In the latter role she supervised 200 entertainment directors and 95 performance centers on American and overseas bases.

Lynn, whose birth name was Margaret Linskie, went on to work with the Walt Disney Co., organizing productions and performances for its Florida theme parks in the 1970s.

In 1982, she formed her own company, Creative Consultants, and she was executive director of the American Theater Assn., from 1982 to 1986.

Most recently she taught courses at the U. of Virginia and served as treasurer of the National Theater until her death.

She is survived by her brother.

Services were private. Donations in her memory can be made to the Dedicated Seat Program (which Lynn founded) at the National Theater in Washington, DC., which is planning a celebration of her life Sept. 7.

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