Nov. 25, 2003 Santa Barbara Santa Barbara County California, USA
Ione Isabelle Jenson Battistone, a long time resident of Santa Barbara, California and the widow of the co-founder of the giant Sambos Restaurant chain, died on November 25, 2003. She was 89 years old. She was born on January 18, 1914 in Irene, South Dakota, to Danish immigrants Norris Chris Jensen and Nina Sorensen Jensen. She had two brothers and two sisters: Norris and Lyle and Helen and Millicent. After graduating from Irene High School and working for a time in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Minneapolis, she and her brother Norris moved to Glendale, California. Ione became a waitress at the Blue Belle Cafe where her future husband, Sam Battistone was a cook. Sam was an Italian immigrant and a coal miner's son from Bentlyville, Pennsylvania. Ione and Sam were soon married and were bless with three children: Sam D. Battistone, Dona Kirby and John Roger Battistone. In World War II she worked in a parachute factory near Burbank. Moving to Santa Barbara in 1947, she and Sam opened a restaurant, Sammy's Grill. In 1957 they purchased a closed restaurant on Cabrillo Boulevard remodeled it and named it Sambos, combining the names of Sam and their partner, Newell Bohnett. Ione worked at Sammy's Grill and the early Sambos restaurants while raising her three children. She loved playing the piano and singing with her children. She also loved to play card games. She had 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Ione was a 50 year member of the First Methodist Church.