Feb. 22, 1931 — June 16, 2013
Donna Lee Nicolls was one of the most energetic, loving, fun, creative, kind and giving people on the planet. She passed peacefully in her sleep in her home in Placerville, Calif., on June 16, 2013, after complications from medication for Atrial Fibulation. She will be sorely missed by her numerous family members and friends. She was stubbornly independent and lived life to its fullest. Her beauty was exceptional both on the inside and the outside. She impressed everyone she met as an amazing and wonderful person. She was completely unforgettable. She was a remarkable human being with ceaseless energy which she continually gave to others.
Donna was born to Victor Clementi and Emma Nunes in San Jose, Calif. Her loving husband, Ward Nicolls, preceded her to heaven in 1992. She is survived by her loving children, her daughter, Dawn L. Hart of Aptos, Calif., and her four step-children by Ward, Boone Nicolls of Olustee, Okla., Adri Nicolls of Fair Oaks, Calif., Marcus Nicolls of Alpine, Utah, and Brooke Nicolls of Sacramento, Calif. She also leaves 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild with another expected in September.
Donna was a bookkeeper most of her life and retired twice from this profession; once from the El Dorado County Fairgrounds and again from the El Dorado Hills Country Club. She loved working at both places. She had many interests but one of her main passions was singing and acting. She was a professional singer and an accomplished actress. She was a member of numerous stage companies, including the West Valley Light Opera in San Jose, where she performed the lead in “South Pacific” singing her signature song, “Bali Hai,” which brought the house down. She also performed the lead in “Oklahoma” and numerous other plays throughout her long acting career. Her outstanding performances were always highlighted in the local newspapers.
Donna moved to Placerville in the early 70s and became involved in theater there, including performing the lead in many melodramas, plays and musicals which received rave reviews and write-ups in newspapers. She carefully and lovingly archived her entire acting and singing career, with images and write-ups of all her performances, in numerous binders. Because she had such an amazing voice, songs were created just for her to sing in the melodramas performed in the Old Coloma Theatre in Coloma, Calif., and other locations like the old “Soda Works” John Pierson Building in Downtown Placerville. She also worked with Theatre Eldorado and performed at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. She also performed at a theatre company in downtown Sacramento. The Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Association awarded Donna with an ELLY Award in 2000, for Best Actress Female Support in a Comedy for “Lost in Yonkers.” She also received a TEDDY Award in 2001 for Best Adult Actress for “Death of a Salesman,” her first dramatic role.
Donna was a tireless volunteer for many organizations and groups, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, where she was trusted with the responsibility for taking in the monies for their pancake breakfasts. Her beautiful smile and quick wit will be sorely missed by all who frequented this event. She was also a member of the Native Daughters of the Golden West, for which she was much honored. She donated her time to the El Dorado County Historical Society and the California-Nevada Lions Student Speakers Program, which honored her with a Certificate of Appreciation in 2005. She was also a member of numerous groups, including her much beloved TOPS, Bunko and the Coloma Doll Club.
Donna was a very talented and gifted artist. She could create anything she set her mind to out of any type of material. She sewed, stitched, crocheted and knitted (she even taught knitting in San Jose for years). She made porcelain dolls and created teensy miniatures that are remarkably detailed. She was an exceptional cook and loved to make food to share with others. Her Portuguese beans will be greatly missed by those lucky enough to have tasted them.
My mother, Donna Nicolls, was simply one of the most beloved and amazing people on this planet and she will be sorely missed by all who were lucky enough to know her. I know she will be so happy to reunite with her entire family — her husband. her mother, father, step-mother, sister and her brother along with many friends and other family members. Her smile and laughter will bring joy to others in heaven for an eternity. I miss her very much; we all do.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, July 28, at 2 p.m., at the Veteran’s Memorial Building, 130 Placerville Drive in Placerville.