Nelly Cowden
Nelly Cowden
Nelly Cowden

Obituary of Nelly Hennebel Cowden

Nelly “Lucky” Hennebel Cowden, 84, passed away peacefully in her sleep of natural causes on June 19, 2018, in Olympia, Washington.  She was born May 21, 1934 to Valentine Vanoutryve and Vincent Hennebel in Roubaix, France. A 38-year resident of Thurston County, Washington, she also lived at Fort Lewis, Washington.


Nelly completed middle school and then had to go to work in a factory to help support the family after WWII.  That’s where she learned to sew, a profession she followed later in life. In 1964, she married an American soldier in Orleans, France; they were married for 16 years.


Nelly was a seamstress, stay-at-home mom, nanny, and caregiver for many years.  In her younger years, she was a model.  She loved to travel, especially on Discovery Tours and, as long as she was able, she loved visiting her home and family in France every year or two.  Spending time with her grandsons was also a joy.  In addition, she enjoyed movies, music, singing, dancing, food, flowers, and drawing flower pictures. 


Nelly is survived by her daughter, Stephanie, and her husband, Tony; daughter-in-law, Lisa; son, Vincent; sister, Michou, and brother-in-law, Georges; grandsons, Denzryl, Quentin, Mitchell, Michael, and Seth; many loving cousins, nieces, nephews and extended family in France.  She was predeceased by her parents; sister, Christiane; and brother, Serge.


Memorial donations may be made online to UW Medicine / Memory and Brain Wellness Center at or by mail to UW Medicine Advancement, c/o Gift Processing, Box 358045, Seattle, WA 98195-8045.


Special Thanks from Family:  Nelly lived in a loving adult family home for the past two and a half years.  Everyone at Angel’s Adult Family Home provided such exceptional care, we couldn’t have asked for better.  We would like to thank them for everything they did for Mom.



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