Charlotte Sue Blake, 86, of Sun City, AZ and Wayne, NE, January 4, 1934- December 5, 2020
Charlotte Sue Blake, 86, of Sun City, AZ and Wayne, NE, passed away on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. Born in Carrollton, MO, Jan 4, 1934, Charlotte was the second daughter of Charles W. and Evelyn (Shull) Blake. In 1948, she moved with her parents to York, NE, and graduated from York High School in 1952.
Charlotte trained as a photographer’s apprentice under her brother-in-law, James Higgins. He and his wife, Dixie (Blake) Higgins, owned Higgins Studio in York from 1950 until their retirement in 1990. After graduation, Charlotte attended the Winona School of Professional Photography in Winona Lake, Indiana, after which she and James pioneered the use of the hand-held Rolleiflex medium format 120mm film camera for shooting weddings. (Prior to this, Graphite 4X5 slide negatives were used for weddings, making cameras too heavy to hand hold.) In 1957, Charlotte moved to Beatrice and worked for Harry Skinner Photography. In 1960, she received a call from Eastman Kodak Company asking her if she were interested in taking over a studio in Wayne, NE, and she jumped at the chance. She said she was the talk of the town, as she was a single female running her own business, which she named Blake’s Studio. She was only the second woman in Nebraska to own and operate her own photography studio. Charlotte enjoyed a successful career until 1985, when she retired and moved to Sun City, AZ.
“Char” as she was called, was known for her gregarious personality and quick wit. She and her friend Dr. Helen Russell (head of the drama department at Wayne State College) worked diligently to organize the community theatre in Wayne. Charlotte used her skills to photograph drama productions for advertisements and posters. For many years, they accompanied students to New York City on a theatrical tour of Broadway and Off-Broadway performances, for which they could receive college credit. They enjoyed the friendship of many of Helen’s drama students and formed lifelong friendships.
After retirement, Charlotte helped to organize the Sun City Community Theater. She also became an avid golfer. Always a dog lover, she could be seen riding around in her golf cart with a canine at her side. She had many friends over the years and enjoyed her relationships with her niece and nephews and their children. She was a member of the Methodist Church.
Charlotte was proceeded in death my her parents, sister Dixie and brother-in-law, James Higgins, nephew Blake Higgins and friend Dr. Helen Russell. She is survived by nephews James P. Higgins (Shirley) of Seward, NE, Michael Higgins (Cecilia) of Reno NV, and niece, Catherine (Scott) Von Minden of Roca, NE, 15 grand nieces and nephews and their children.
A private family interment is planned for Greenwood Cemetery in York.