JoAnn Rae Sample obituary

JoAnn Rae Sample, resident of Oak Harbor and Friday Harbor, passed away from metastatic breast cancer on Monday, Nov. 14 in Oak Harbor. She was 73 years of age.

JoAnn was born in Portland, Oregon on Sept. 26, 1943 to Willard and Dorothy Cox. She attended schools in Portland, graduated from Grant High School, and attended Portland State University. Following graduation, she worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance, U.S. Steel and Edwards Wire Rope.

Her life changed when she went to work for Gunderson Brothers, and met Wilbur (Bill) Sample. He swept her off her feet, and in Sept. 1977 they were married.

In 1978 they decided to retire and moved to Oak Harbor, Washington. Their retirement lasted one year, when they purchased the Roller Barn skating rink. For the next 10 years, they enjoyed working with the children of Oak Harbor and shared fond memories of birthday parties, skate-a-thons and New Year’s Eve parties. Retiring again in 1989, they enjoyed traveling in their fifth wheel camper all around the U.S. Bill passed away in 2003.

In 2007, JoAnn agreed to a blind date and was fortunate to meet a second soul mate, Edward Smith Jr., who claimed her heart. JoAnn moved to Friday Harbor, and the two of them shared a very special bond of true friendship, their love of traveling and working on their businesses, side-by-side. Edward passed away in 2013.

Joann loved coloring books, to read, garden, put together jigsaw puzzles, going to the San Juan Community Theatre, drinking chocolate martinis and spending time with family and friends. She loved animals, enjoyed feeding the hummingbirds on her deck, and was forever on the lookout for whales passing by in front of the house. More recently, she joined a marimba group and enjoyed playing and performing for others. She was also passionate about her 1980 Mercedes-Benz SL convertible, and loved driving around the island with the top down. The police budget will certainly miss her periodic contributions!

JoAnn is survived by her two extended families: Denise Demaray (Bill Tainter), Karen Sample, Wendy Sample, Edward F Smith III (fiancé Wendy Moore), Michael Smith (Cindy) and Erin Roberts (Casey). In addition, JoAnn is survived by her brother (Kenneth Cox), four grandchildren (Nathan Tainter (Suz), Aaron Tainter (Tiffany), Gregory Tainter, and M.G. Bertrand) and five great grandchildren. She is predeceased by her parents Willard and Dorothy.

Special mention is made to those who supported her in her last years of life. In addition to her immediate family, Judy Norton (long-time friend, who also took personal care of JoAnn for the last two months), Jayson and Linda Jury, Christine Seifert, Pastor David and Cara Parker, Olivia Meyer (godchild), her Mitchell Bay neighbors and the book club for all their help and support (Ross and Kara Brown, Carolee and Captain Jim Maya, Diana Johnson, Susie and Don Hendrix, Nancy Miller, Joyce Johnson, Marilyn Kline, Brenda Pound, Susan Eckstrom, Pam Champlin, and MaryLou Sternitzke), Hospice of the Northwest, Home Instead Senior Care (special thanks to all her favorite caretakers), JoAnn’s church family the First United Methodist Church of Oak Harbor for their thoughts and prayers, and the Puget Sound Walk to Emmaus for the 175 cards and letters of encouragement sent to her during this last month.

At her request, there will be no funeral. Remembrances may be made to a favorite charity of your choice. JoAnn is donating a portion of her estate to the following three charities: Make-A-Wish Foundation of Alaska &Washington, Doctors Without Borders USA and Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Friday Harbor. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Wallin Funeral Home &Cremation. To share memories or condolences, please visit JoAnn’s Book of Memories page on the funeral home website at