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Nell Elizabeth Cowles, 103, of Portsmouth and Fredericksburg died Wednesday, May 2, 2012, in Colonial Beach.
Born near Raeford, N.C., Nell was the youngest of the seven children of Atlas Henry Harris and Laura Lee Kinlaw Harris, all now deceased.
Nell graduated from St. Pauls High School in North Carolina and attended Greensboro and Campbell colleges before seeking work in Norfolk during the Great Depression. Nell met her husband, Herbert DuPre Cowles of Charlottesville, in Norfolk, where he began his Navy career. After they married in 1935, Nell and Herbert established pre- and post-World War II homes in the Craddock and Westhaven communities of Portsmouth. Herbert died in 1970. Nell remained active in the Portsmouth neighborhood, school, garden club and church groups until moving to Fredericksburg.
Nell is survived by two sons, Herbert DuPre Cowles Jr. of Fredericksburg and James Alan Cowles of Garner, N.C.; and three grandchildren, Lisa Meredith Cowles of San Francisco, and Jeffrey Thomas Cowles and Alan Scott Cowles, both of Raleigh, N.C. Nell was supported throughout her life by many beloved nieces and nephews.
At noon on Tuesday, May 8, Nell's family will honor her request for a brief graveside service at the Olive Branch Cemetery, Clifford St. at City Park Ave., Portsmouth, Va. 23707. Dr. Bruce Powers of the Westhaven Baptist Church will preside.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Nell's honor may be made to Westhaven Baptist Church, 4900 Caroline Ave., Portsmouth, Va. 23707.
Smith and Williams Funeral Home (Kempsville), 4889 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach, Va. 23462, is handling local arrangements and will receive flowers and condolences for the family. Online condolences may be sent to mullinsthompson