Anita Mae Nichols
Anita Mae Nichols, 82, of Sheridan, passed away on Thursday, May 25, 2023 at Sheridan Westview Health Care Center. Champion Funeral Home has been entrusted with local arrangements. As per Anita’s wishes, there will be no formal memorial service. Online condolences may be written at www.championfh.com.
Anita’s first career was as an entertainer. Appropriately billed as “The Vivacious Anita Marie,'' she drummed, danced, and emceed her way across the country. In her early years of entertaining, “Anita Mae” was a regular on the go-go dancing stage. In the late ‘60s, between gigs in the Pacific Northwest, Wyoming and South Dakota, she followed her patriotic heart and took her four-member band on a 6 month tour of Southeast Asia to entertain the troops in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Manila, The Philippines, China and Vietnam. Once she put down her drum sticks, she returned to Sheridan and worked for several years for the City Engineer until she once again tapped into her creative energy and immersed herself into a full time career in photography.
Anita became a professional photographer in 1985 when she established her business as a portrait/freelance photographer and ran a professional black and white lab restoring historic photographs of the area. Her work was represented by several galleries and many of her photographs were published in magazines, brochures, and newspapers as well as used for the illustrations for three books. She furnished cover pages for magazines and produced murals for corporate offices. One of her scenic photos caught the eye of a jeweler and the rights were purchased to make gold jewelry.
She received many awards for her photography, however, her time spent serving as a mentor to young students was her most cherished accomplishment. From 1996-2004 Anita taught photography at Sheridan College. In the fall of 2004 she retired from teaching, closed her professional black and white studio and began to pursue more work as a freelance photographer. By combining her love for the outdoors with her compassion for mentoring young adults she was able to enjoy countless senior photo sessions, many of which resulted in lifelong friendships. Her love of animals led her to a brief horse-breeding stint as well as decades of training service dogs and advocating for service animal rights. She had several service dogs of her own, but none more loved and devoted than Ruby June.
Besides her beloved Ruby, Anita is survived by many cousins and friends. As an Eastern Star and the daughter of a Freemason, Anita’s cremains will be interred in Mason 43 at Sheridan Municipal Cemetery next to her parents, Walt and Eva.