Joanne (Chamberlain) Leslie, of Sarasota passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 11, 2021 at her home in The Meadows. Her loving husband, Web Leslie, was at her side constantly following a stroke she suffered nearly four years ago. She is survived by her brother, Jack Chamberlain, and much loved by 19 children, grand-children and great grand-children (with one more on the way next month). These include her children Jack and his wife Caroline Pech of Fairfield, CT, Lynn and her husband Dominick Gadaleta of Manhasset, NY, Thomas of Sarasota, FL, Jeanne and her husband Alberto Aguirre of Atlanta, GA, and William of Chicago, IL. She leaves 10 grandchildren, Nicole Gadaleta, D.J. Gadaleta, Kemi Mattiussi, Erick Gadaleta, Web Leslie, Finn Leslie McClendon, Karly Pech, Jack Aguirre, Grant Aguirre and William Leslie; and her great grand-children, Jackson, Harper, Adelynn and Ayden.
Joanne Chamberlain was born on January 27, 1932 in Milwaukee, WI. After a brief modeling career, and as a designer of department store window displays, she met John (Web) Leslie who was serving in the US Army Air Corps during the Korean War. She attended Shorewood High School in Shorewood, WI and Sacred Heart in St. Louis, MO, Mount Mary and Downer College in Milwaukee, WI.
Joanne and Web raised five children moving from Milwaukee to Fond du Lac, WI to Cincinnati, OH to Deerfield, IL. She was highly respected in Deerfield for her contributions to the community, especially on the planning board overseeing the rebuilding of downtown Deerfield. She was affectionately known as the "tree lady" as she worked tirelessly to have trees planted along the sidewalks in residential areas of her community.
Joanne was exceptionally compassionate for others, especially those less fortunate than herself. For many years, she welcomed young women who were need of care and counseling into her home. She noticed that housekeepers, after a long day on the job, walked to a main thoroughfare in town and had to stand and wait for a bus. She had a bench placed there so they would have a place to rest.
Joanne always showed great humility, never looking for recognition of her many good deeds. She took great pride and joy in the successes of her children and grand-children and was a force in each of their lives. Each Thanksgiving, she would make a simple toast: "Thank you, Lord, for all you have given us. We don't need anything more, please just don't take anything away." She has now left this earth, but her spirit will be with us always.
Her immediate family will hold a small service at St. Martha's Catholic Church in Sarasota on Thursday, July 15. A celebration of Joanne's life will be held this fall in Sarasota at a time to be announced. To honor Joanne's passion for those, like refugees who have been forced to flee their homes, the family asks that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be sent to USA for UNHCR (unrefugees.org
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Published by Chicago Tribune on Jul. 18, 2021.