Joanne C. Sambrooks (Elam), 79, of Winamac, IN passed at 1:35PM, Saturday, May 30, 2020 at Hickory Creek at Winamac.  Born December 26, 1940 in Chicago, she was the daughter of the late Edward and Christine Miller.

Joanne grew up in Illinois, where she married her first husband and they had 6 beautiful children. They raised their family in Chicago, Illinois. She spent about 45 years there before seeking a new adventure. She made her final home in Winamac, Indiana where she spent nearly 34 years living on the Tippecanoe River.

Joanne was jovial; she had a laugh and a smile that was contagious. While people say these things all the time, Joanne was truly one of a kind. Her life was full of hardships, yet she always persevered for her family. Joanne was well known and admired. She was strong, stubborn and fiercely independent. She lived for others and thrived on being the “center of attention,” not for herself but to make others happy.

She was a fan of her daytime TV, where she spent hours watching Jerry Springer and was a Dr. Phil enthusiast. She also was an avid Olympic watcher; she loved watching the Figure Skating and told tall tales to her grandkids about her “Olympic skating days” being the reason she had bad knees. And after a long day, likely spent outside, Joanne hoped to wind down with a classic Lifetime movie and her pups.

She really enjoyed the outdoors and was an absolute animal lover. Camping was one of her most treasured past times, where she spent weekends with her family. The Luau weekend at the campground was something she would look forward to all year and the best memories were made! Joanne would ride around on her golf cart for hours looking for big rocks for her garden. She loved the peace her home brought her, it was a place the flock could gather.

She went by many names: Mom, Gramma Sam, Grandma Jo, Aunt Joanie, Aunt Jo, Mama E. She was one who said “you can call me anything but don’t call me late for dinner!”

Joanne, Mom, was wonderfully devoted to her 5 surviving children; Dean, Michael (Anna), William (Debra), Allen and Katherine (Jason).

She was the compassionate Gramma Sam to six; Jean, Christina, Megan, Michelle, Michael, and Jennifer. The beloved Grandma Jo to her 7 great grandchildren; Braidyn, Kattalina, JoeJoe, Andrew, Abigail, Ariana and Annalise. The loving Aunt Joannie or Aunt Jo to numerous nieces and nephews. And the adored Mama E to all who knew her.

Joanne was preceded in death by her former husband but lifelong friend, Allen Edward Elam Sr.; one daughter, Linda Joyce; one granddaughter, Megan Ann; five sisters, Marilyn Klopp, Muriel Zizzo, Dolores Steinman, Geraldine Leverenz, Roberta Miller; three brothers, Marshall Miller Sr., Phillip Miller, Robert Miller and 2 half siblings, Billy and Dorothy Miller and one niece Sandra Klopp; two nephews, Marshall Miller Jr. and Robert Leverenz.


Visitation will be from 4-9 PM EDT Friday, June 12, 2020 at Frain Mortuary in Winamac, IN.


Private Graveside Services will take place at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Alsip, IL.


Burial will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Alsip, IL.


Memorial Contributions may be made to the Disabled American Veterans or Hickory Creek at Winamac. 


Online Tributes may be made at

Arrangements have been entrusted to Frain Mortuary in Winamac, IN. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of JOANNE SAMBROOKS (ELAM), please visit Tribute Store


4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Friday, June 12, 2020
Frain Mortuary - Winamac
305 E Main St.
Winamac, Indiana, United States
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