Nebel Henson was described as an "integral creative and business partner" in the Muppets and the company.
She met Jim Henson while studying in a puppetry class at the University of Maryland. The two collaborated on Sam and Friends, which was seen as a precursor to The Muppets. She was an early puppeteer on the show as well as a designer, best known for favorites such as Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.
While she focused on later raising her family, Nebel Henson was still very much involved in the business and recruited talent for Sesame Street. She separated from Henson in 1986, several years before his death in 1990. She founded The Jim Henson Legacy in order to preserve the work of her former husband. She also began her own foundation, The Jane Henson Foundation, for philanthropic pursuits.
A memorial is planned for next week.
Jane Nebel Henson, Shaper of Muppets, Dies at 78 (The New York Times)