ANKRUM - Joan Wheeler Ankrum, renowned Los Angeles art dealer, who founded the Ankrum Gallery on La Cienega Boulevard in 1960 and raised the consciousness of Art in Los Angeles for three decades, died on December 20th, 2001. Her love of art was born of a creative spirit that bloomed young in Joan. Born Joan Wheeler in 1913, she left her home in Palo Alto, California at 17 to enter a career in theater at the Pasadena Playhouse. At the Playhouse, she trained under her future husband, veteran stage and screen actor, Morris Ankrum. She joined the Eighteen Actors Company with such notables as Dana Andrews, Robert Preston and Victor Jory. Her theater experience in Pasadena took her to the New York stage and Broadway where she starred opposite Van Heflin. Back to Hollywood, she was put under contract with Warner Brothers Studios. At Warner Bros she appeared in "Smarty" with Joan Blondell, "Twenty Million Sweethearts" with Dick Powell and Ginger Rogers, "The Merry Frinks" and "Desirable" with Jean Muir. It wasn't until she began mentoring her nephew, deaf artist Morris Broderson's art career that the idea of starting her own art gallery was sparked. Encouraged by McKinley Helm, curator of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, she opened the doors of the Ankrum Gallery with her partner William Challee. Naomi Caryl, a longtime friend, artist and art collector said, "One of the things that made Joan and Bill so unusual as "Art Dealers" was that they came from the theater and had no conceived notions about how the Art World or an art gallery ran. It was what made The Ankrum Gallery so unique. They did things that no one had done before. They were the first gallery to put out color brochures and the first gallery on La Cienega to have a group show of Black Artists." Joan was on of the founders of the LA Art Dealers Association and was instrumental in starting the "Monday Night Art Walk" along La Cienega Boulevard in the 1960's. Joan put many artists on the map in museums around the world including the Joseph Hirshhorn Museum Collection in Washington DC. Hirshhorn made her gallery a must-stop when he visited the west Coast. Joan was a great lady and will be truly missed. She is survived by her son, David Ankrum and his wife, Barbara; grandchildren, Challee and Brian; her brothers, Nelson Wheeler and Rod Wheeler of Palo Alto and Joan's longtime love, Robert Baumgarten of Pasadena. There will be a private memorial service for family and friends on Sunday, January 27. CABOT & SONS, Directors.