Anne M. McNicholas, a homemaker who rediscovered her love for painting after raising five children, died of complications from a blood disorder Friday at Talbot Hospice House in Easton. She was 78.
Born Anne Marie Harman in Baltimore, she lived for a few years in Norfolk, Va., and then returned with her family to live with her grandmother on Charles Street. She attended SS. Philip and James School.
She was a competitive swimmer with a community team at the Lakewood Swimming Pool during her high school years and graduated from Notre Dame Prep in 1946.
She earned her bachelor's degree in art at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in 1950. After college, she spent four years teaching kindergarten at two schools in South Baltimore.
She was on the boardwalk in Ocean City when mutual friends introduced her to Edward "Bud" McNicholas. The two were married in 1953.
They lived in Florida and Texas while Mr. McNicholas served in the Navy and then settled in Towson in 1957 and raised five children. Mrs. McNicholas was a homemaker who enjoyed sewing and made clothes for herself and her children.
"She was a very gentle person," Mr. McNicholas said. "I've had people comment, 'I've never heard her say a bad word about anyone.'"
The family moved to Guilford and then to Roland Park before relocating in 1976 to a house on the Wye River near Queenstown. They often went boating and fishing.
As her children graduated from high school and left home, Mrs. McNicholas had more time to focus on painting, a love she had first nurtured in college.
"That really became her hobby," said Mr. McNicholas, who recalled that she started using oil paint, but came to prefer watercolors. She painted scenes of the water and wildlife before developing a focus on floral arrangements and individual flowers.
Despite her family's encouragement to sell her paintings, her husband said, "She wasn't interested. ... She wanted her kids to have them."
Mrs. McNicholas' interest in flowers was evident in her garden, which she tended conscientiously. She was a member of the Queenstown Garden Club and was coordinator for the junior garden club, encouraging an interest in growing things.
She was a member of St. Peter Roman Catholic Church in Queenstown and served on its altar society.
In 2003, the couple moved to Easton, where Mrs. McNicholas joined the Easton Academy of the Arts and was a member of Saints Peter and Paul Parish.
A funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Saints Peter and Paul Parish, 1210 S. Washington St., Easton.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. McNicholas is survived by five children, Jeanne Stringer, Patrick McNicholas and Thomas McNicholas, all of Baltimore, Timothy McNicholas of San Jose, Calif., and Nancy Gosnell of Easton; a brother, Thomas Harman of Durango, Colo.; a sister, Edith Grice of Baltimore; and seven grandchildren.