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Jeannette Fay Cowan
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Birth: Jan. 18, 1970
Death: Jan. 29, 2012

Jeannette Fay (Nadeau) Cowan January 18, 1970 - January 29, 2012 Like
a shooting star flashing across the night sky, Jeannette's star shined
brightly for 42 years and then the light went out too soon. She was born in
Angeles City, Philippines. Her American father abandoned her and her
destitute mother. She knew that a distant relative, Fay Nadeau, lived at
nearby Clark AFB. She contacted Fay and asked her and her husband,
MSGT Gene Nadeau, to take the baby because she could not provide for it.
The Philippine Social Services agency approved Fay and Gene's request to
become guardians of the three-month-old baby. In October 1970, Gene received orders to report to Malmstrom AFB,
Great Falls, Montana. It was there that Jeannette was adopted. In 1973, when Gene was ordered to report to
Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan, Jeannette was naturalized as an American citizen at Helena, Montana, so she could
be added to Fay's passport. In March 1976, her dad was directed to report to Galena Airport, Alaska, an isolated
station along the Yukon River, where families were not allowed. During that one-year tour, Fay and Jeannette stayed
at Parkland, Washington, just south of Tacoma. She completed first grade at Brookdale Elementary School. Her dad
was ordered to report to Clark AB, Philippines, in 1977. She completed second and third grade at Clark. In 1979, the
family moved to Hickam AFB, Hawaii. She completed fourth and fifth grades there. After the school year was over,
her dad, CMSGT Nadeau, retired in 1981, returning to Parkland. She finished sixth grade at Christensen Elementary
School. She joined the Pacific Peaks Girl Scout troop in Parkland, and enjoyed camping and selling cookies. At
Washington High School Jeannette became a JRAFROTC cadet. During one summer she worked on the
Washington State Department of Ecology Youth Patrol. In 1988 she graduated from high school. Next stop was
Oregon State University at Corvallis. There she joined the AFROTC unit. She was an artist, displaying some of her
action hero postures at an off-campus café. One summer she worked for guest services at Mount Rainier National
Park at the Visitor Center Café. She graduated in 1992 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air
Force Reserves. She was called to active duty in January 1993 and was ordered to report to Spangdahlem AB,
Germany, to be assigned as adjutant to an A10 (tank killer) fighter squadron. Later, after being promoted to First
Lieutenant, she was transferred to the base command post. She was able to visit a number of European countries
while on leave. Her next move was to Howard AB, Panama, where she was assigned to the base command post.
Promoted to Captain, she was sent to Hill AFB, Utah, and assigned to the Air Force's only radar evaluation
squadron. She performed Flight Commander, Personnel Manager, and Radar Evaluation Liaison Officer duties. She
was required to frequently visit radar evaluation teams in Florida, New York, and Washington State air defense
sectors. It was her New York team that monitored the Egyptian air passenger jet that crashed into the ocean off the
New York coast in 2000. The team captured the up and down movements of the jet right up to the end. The Egyptian
government claimed it was Boeing's fault. The team was ordered to release the tracking film to the media to end the
controversy. The black box proved that a fight between an off-duty pilot and the aircrew caused the crash. Jeannette
appeared on CNN TV pointing to the type of equipment used to monitor the jet plane. Before the Iraq war she was
sent to Turkey on a temporary basis to maintain the communication link between the northern and southern air
forces enforcing the no-fly zones in Iraq. Jeannette's world was turned upside down in 2002 when she found out she
had breast cancer. One breast had to be removed. After reconstructive surgery and recovery, she was sent to
Kirkland AFB, New Mexico, and was assigned communications officer staff duties. While there she completed a
master's degree in Business Communications from the University of Phoenix. A medical board discharged her from
the Air Force after ten years of service. The Veterans Administration (VA) initially gave her a 100% disability rating
and placed her on a five-year cancer treatment program, after which she was found to be cancer-free. She
performed administrative duties for auto sales agencies in Tacoma, Auburn, and Seattle. Jeannette was a desktop
publisher. Her first book was "Nadeau Family Saga," a genealogy book, written by her father, which followed the
Nadeau family movement from 1660 Quebec to California and Washington State today. Her next product was to be
a second edition of her father's book, "Highway to Paradise." On August 29, 2009 she married the love of her life,
Chris Cowan, a fellow cat lover. The next day they left for their honeymoon in Hawaii. Soon after their return, she
went to work for the Federal Aviation Agency in Auburn, near their Covington home. This meant her ten years in the
Air Force would count toward retirement. Chris and Jeannette enjoyed drives and camping out. She loved to cook,
especially during the holidays. One of her specialties was Philippine Lumpia (egg rolls), which everyone enjoyed
right down to the last one! Jeannette frequently had severe headaches. Her VA doctor at American Lake found she
had Cowden Disease, inherited from her birth mother (who died years earlier in an auto accident). It is believed that
this disease caused her breast cancer, thyroid problems (removed) and severe headaches. Her VA doctor sent her
to Harborview Hospital in Seattle for angiograms, chemotherapy treatments and MRIs. In 2010 and 2011, numerous
angiograms failed to correct a blood buildup in her brain. Finally a cranial operation was performed in late 2011.
Afterwards she had breathing problems and a seizure. A tracheotomy was performed and a feeding tube was placed
in her stomach. Slow progress was being made up to the first week of January, and it was expected that she would
be moved out of the ICU to an Acute Care room, and then to the Seattle VA Hospital for rehabilitation, and finally
home. A stroke during that first week changed everything. Chris was called at 3:00 a.m. and told about the stroke.
An MRI clearly showed she had suffered severe damage to her brain, from which she would not recover. Her long
and courageous fight ended at home under hospice care on January 29, 2012. Jeannette is survived by her husband
Chris, Cowan family members, her dad and mom, Gene and Fay Nadeau, Uncle James and Aunt Jane Nadeau, and
Nadeau family members, including several cousins. A memorial will be held at Tahoma National Cemetery, 18600
SE 240th Street, Kent, WA at 1pm on February 17, 2012 (425-413-9614 for directions). 
Tahoma National Cemetery
King County
Washington, USA
Plot: D B 33
Created by: Craig Strong
Record added: Nov 22, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 101123677
Jeannette Fay Cowan
Added by: Lance
Jeannette Fay Cowan
Added by: Craig Strong
Jeannette Fay Cowan
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Flaghead
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