Former Durango resident Reina “Rie” C. McNicholas, died Wednesday, May 16, 2012, in Denver. She was 97.
Mrs. McNicholas was born July 31, 1914, in Arcadia, Neb., to Mary Alice Ducker and Roy D. Sheppard. She was one of 12 children with five brothers and six sisters, including her twin, Rose Sheppard. While Mrs. McNicholas was young, her mother brought her and four siblings, all under the age of five, on a train from Nebraska to Colorado to homestead a ranch in New Raymer. Mrs. McNicholas graduated from New Raymer High School in 1933 and later earned a degree from Barns Business College in Denver.
She worked for an automotive repair shop and later for the Lowery Air Force Base, where she received a Letter of Commendation from the government for reorganizing the base’s accounting department.
On June 14, 1936, Mrs. McNicholas married George F. McNicholas at St. Thomas’ Church in Denver. After Mr. McNicholas served in the military for two years the couple moved to Durango where Mr. McNicholas’ family was from.
In Durango, Mrs. McNicholas managed the Sweet Briar dress shop for about 20 years. She and her husband also bought and operated a motel, until later retiring.
The couple bought a cabin on Electra Lake and later spent winters in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. and summers in Durango. They also traveled to Alaska, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand.
Mr. McNicholas died in 1995, and Mrs. McNicholas continued to split her time between Lake Havasu City and Durango, until she moved to Denver about four years ago.
“Rie loved animals, especially horses, cats and dogs,” said her niece Bonnie Kugler “She enjoyed bridge and was a good player and also a teacher of bridge.”
In addition, she enjoyed painting, playing guitar, collecting dolls and arranging flowers, her family said.
Mrs. McNicholas was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, George F. McNicholas.
She is survived by her sisters Edan Lowder of Denver and Dorothy Kugler (age 100) of Sterling; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives.
Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 23, 2012, at Greenmount Cemetery in Durango.