Nancy Elizabeth Mann Smith Dean


January 28, 1961 – October 18, 2022


image of Nancy Elizabeth Mann Smith Dean

Nancy Dean

Nancy had abundant energy, an eye for aesthetics, a major green thumb, and a generous heart.   Most importantly, Nancy was best-mom-ever to her cherished son Winston Smith.

A fourth generation Seattleite, she was kid #4 out of 5 born to Hugh Mann and Joan Mann.  Growing up, Nancy loved the natural world, horses, and bloodhounds.  The Mann family spent summers camping in the San Juan Islands, Sun Lakes, and – one of her all-time favorite places – Mt. Rainier.  Nancy was a mischievous and adventurous kid, the one who’d go off exploring on her own when Grandma Mann took the five to Woodland Park Zoo.  All of a sudden someone would realize, “Nancy’s not here!”  Soon enough, she’d turn up in the rose garden or petting zoo.

After graduating from Nathan Hale High School in 1979, Nancy pursued her interest in style by attending John Robert Powers School and competing for and serving as a Seattle Sea Fair Princess.

Nancy could do anything she set her mind to.  She loved serving people and bringing them joy.  She had early career success as a flight attendant and supervisor for a decade with Alaska Airlines.  Later in her career, Nancy circled back to her interest in aesthetics when she decided to become an aesthetician.  She graduated top of class at the Euro Institute of Skin Care in 2009 and spent close to a decade working at a master level.  At Seattle Dermatology Associates and running her own business – Seattle Skin & Serenity Sea Spa – Nancy provided world class facials, bridal make-up, and spa parties for women.

A lifelong commitment to and passion for dogs started as a young child and led Nancy to work as a professional dog trainer and handler through the 1990s and early 2000s.  Nancy was an exceptional trainer and over the years certified several dogs she owned to do therapy work.  She showed dogs at American Kennel Club events and loved volunteering at nursing homes with her Rottweiler Bismarck.  For the past decade, Nancy’s family dog has been the amazing Sunny – a border terrier who she trained as a therapy dog and to do all types of tricks.

Another of Nancy’s great passions was gardening and landscape design.  Since their marriage there in 2012, she and her husband Rob lived on almost two acres at their home, Grace Place, on the shores of Sequim Bay about two hours west of Seattle.  Nancy turned it into a garden showcase filled with hundreds of dahlias, hostas, ferns, tall grasses, and flowering plants to bring in the birds, bees, and butterflies.  She proclaimed herself “the charter member of Dahlias Anonymous” because of her “addiction” to the vibrant flower.  Nancy and Rob welcomed 60 family members to Grace Place for a large reunion in August 2018.

Earlier that same year, in February, Nancy received the shocking diagnosis of an aggressive brain cancer.  It seemed to come out of the blue and in the prime of her life.  She had surgery, chemotherapy, and proton radiation to gain more time.  Nancy’s biggest goal was to be there for her son Winston and live long enough that she could see him graduate from high school.  Her physical strength, courage, and indomitable spirit kept her going, with support from her family, friends, and medical team.

Almost 2 ½ years later the cancer was back, and Nancy had another brain surgery July 2020 with follow-up treatment that bought her more time.  In June 2021, Nancy was jubilant to achieve her dream of celebrating Winston’s graduation with him.

2022 brought Nancy wonderful travels and family adventures.  In February, four of the Mann siblings and their families spent a terrific, action-packed week on the island of Kauai – another of her favorite places.  In the spring, never having been to Europe, Nancy cooked up the grand idea that she and Winston would go there.  With valuable planning guidance from Rob, Nancy and Winston spent almost three weeks in May exploring France, Scotland, and England.  Nancy couldn’t say enough about what a fantastic travel companion and navigator Winston is and how much fun they had together.  It was the trip of a lifetime.  In early September, Nancy and Winston spent several days in Victoria, BC – staying at the majestic Empress Hotel, having high tea, and exploring yet another favorite place, Butchart Gardens.

Nancy had a big presence and she lived life in a big way.  People use these words to describe her: kindhearted, brave, witty, self-starter, hard worker, natural leader, strong-willed, beautiful inside and out, advice-giver and problem solver.

She was so optimistic and powerful it seemed Nancy could go on forever.  Sadly, she learned very recently that the brain cancer had returned with no more treatment options.  She passed away peacefully on October 18, 2022 in Seattle.

Nancy is survived by husband Robert Dean; son Winston Smith; father Hugh Mann and step-mother Lorraine David Mann; siblings Susan Mann (Charles Bergman), Kristi Mann (Chris Greenwood), Steve Mann, and Roy Mann (Ann Bellan Mann), and step-sister Lynn Metter (Alan Morin).  Nancy is also survived by other family members she treasured including niece Maria Mann, nephews Jacob Mann and John Mann-Moery, and many dear cousins.  Nancy was predeceased by her beloved mother Joan Mann (2018) and grandparents, aunts, and uncles she loved to spend time with.

A memorial gathering for family and friends to honor Nancy’s life is being held at 11:00am on Saturday November 12, 2022 at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church – 8900 35th Ave NE in Seattle, Washington.  Immediately afterwards, there will be a reception and light luncheon at Jubilee Hall next door.

In Nancy’s memory, we invite you to Donate to Fred Hutch – Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.


6 Responses to “Nancy Elizabeth Mann Smith Dean”

  • Sherry Bellan says:

    She seemed like a wonderful person. So sorry for your loss.

  • Joe Wren says:

    Beautiful tribute to a wonderful soul. I have many great memories of Nancy and wish all of her family Peace.

  • Heidi Dean says:

    Absolutely beautiful tribute to such an amazing and talented beautiful woman. We are deeply sorry for your loss, you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Joan Probala says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. When you were at my home for the Dew Over reunion, you spoke of your wife with such love and respect. Thank you both for being part of the Dew Over family. You are definitely in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Steve & Audrey Absalonson says:

    Rob – I just learn of Nancy’s passing yesterday. So sorry for your loss. She was a beautiful energetic woman. I recall the joy & shining light upon your faces when the two of you found each other and then married. Audrey and I send our prayers for God’s special blessings and comfort for you and family during this time of grief. Love Steve & Audrey

  • Steve & Audrey Absalonson says:

    Rob – I just learned of Nancy’s passing yesterday. So sorry for your loss. She was a beautiful energetic woman. I recall the joy & shining light upon your faces when the two of you found each other and then married. Audrey and I send our prayers for God’s special blessings and comfort for you and family during this time of grief. Love Steve & Audrey

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