JoAnn Sams, 59, of Madison, passed away peacefully in her home amongst her family on May 20, 2023. Visitation will be held at St. Bernard Catholic Church - Middleton, 2015 Parmenter St., at 10:00 on Friday, May 26, 2023. Mass will be held at 11:00 followed by luncheon. Per her wishes, cremation rites will be accorded.
JoAnn Sams was born in Madison, WI on June 16, 1963 to Margaret and Bruno Sams. She proudly graduated from James Madison Memorial High School. After high school, JoAnn was fortunate to be included in the wave of disability advocacy that provided vocational support for meaningful employment with Community Work Services. Through that program, she found her lifelong career at the Wisconsin Crime Lab where she was an integral part of their team for 27 years.
JoAnn’s home life was supported through Community Living Connections, one of the first community-based residential facilities in Madison. She made a home there with lifelong friends and staff who became family. They enjoyed pizza parties, picnics in the yard, and holiday decorating. Her family is grateful to Rise Up for providing compassionate care when she needed it most.
Special Olympics played a large role in JoAnn’s active life. She competed in the international games in a variety of year-round sports. JoAnn had a full social life, including dances, travel with Able Trek Tours, and spending time with her family.
JoAnn will be deeply missed by her siblings Nancy O’Brien, Paul (Mary) Sams, and Mary Kay (Charlie) Mussey. She is also survived by her nephews Matt Sams, Nate (Nikki) Sams, Marcus (Ashley) Mussey, niece Caitlin (Byron) Malkus, and great-nephew and great-niece.
Donations can be directed to Community Work Services https://www.cwsmadison.com/, Community Living Connections https://www.clconnections.org/ or Special Olympics of Wisconsin https://www.specialolympicswisconsin.org/.
Please share your memories of JoAnn here on her Tribute Wall.
6021 University Ave. Madison