JoAnn Sommer Sam, 54, was born to Maudrey and Henry Sommer in Tanana on May 25, 1958. She passed away peacefully on March 19, 2013, at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, with her loving family by her side.
JoAnn was our "Queen A Dash-A-Pepper" with her flaming red hair and freckled face. She was a mischievous child, often running barefoot throughout the summer months. JoAnn was a very caring, kind, non-judgmental and loving, wife, mother, sister, daughter, auntie and friend.
She graduated from Tanana High School in 1977 and Alaska Business College in Anchorage. She was employed for many years at Maudrey J. Sommer School as business manager. She was recently employed at the Tanana Elders Residence.
JoAnn is survived by her husband of 35 years, Clarence Sam; sons, Daniel Donovan (Aimee Nollner) and Donald James, and daughter, Patti "Precious" Sam.
JoAnn and Clarence also lovingly raised Tyson Len Kriska, son of her deceased sister, Lucille Sommer. Her granddaughter, Nevaeh, was the light of her life.
She leaves behind aunts, Elsie Tremblay, Martha Henderson and Bernice (Eli) Aragon; sisters, Donna (Kirby) Brooks, of North Carolina, Marie (Michael) Andon, of Fairbanks, Judy (George) Jensen, of Nenana, Betty Jean (Fred) Olin, of Anchorage, Karen (Hugh) Kriska, of Nenana, and Connie (Bum) Sommer Mayo, of Nenana; and brothers, Chris (Albertha) Sommer, of Galena, Rudy (Annie) Sommer, of Tanana, and Coleman Sommer, of Fairbanks.
She will be fondly remembered by her mother-in-law, Sophie Sam, of Huslia; sisters-in-law, Maudy Kubani and Judy Carlo, both of Fairbanks, and Mary Ann Sam, of Huslia.
She will be greatly missed by all, including her many nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends.
JoAnn was preceded in death by her parents; paternal grandparents, Agnes and John Sommer; maternal grandparents, Alice and Warren Thompson; uncles, Glenn Butler, Morris Thompson, Johnny Sommer, Freddy Sommer and William Sommer; aunt, Josephine McCullough; sister, Lucille Sommer; niece, Janelle Sommer; father-in-law, Billy Sam; brother-in-law, Donald Sam; and niece, Cynthia Hazel Sam.
JoAnn's family is grateful for the care she received at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, especially the second floor medical and surgical ward staff. The support of many family members and friends is most appreciated throughout this difficult time.
A viewing was held from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at Fairbanks Funeral Home.
JoAnn will be buried in Tanana, following a funeral service Saturday, March 23, 2013, at St. Aloysius Catholic Church. A traditional Athabascan potlatch in celebration of JoAnn's life will be held following burial at the Mission Hill Cemetery.
Arrangements are entrusted to Fairbanks Funeral Home.