JoAnne Sackheim

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July 11, 1924 - May 15, 2014 JoAnne Sackheim died May 15th at her home in Beverly Hills, at the age of 89, after a prolonged battle with breast cancer. She was born JoAnne Cohen, on July 11th 1924, in Los Angeles California. While married to a successful husband and raising their two active sons, JoAnne attended college and graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Master's degree in Social Work (MSW). A respected member of the psychiatric community, she began her practice as a Psychiatric Social Worker in the late '60's at Harbor General Hospital in Torrance, before establishing a private practice as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Beverly Hills. A consummate professional she was a promoter of life long education. She had an insatiable appetite for knowledge and devoured anything and everything on the subject of the human psyche. Both inquisitive and progressive, she stayed current on the latest research in the field, and was always looking for the most effective techniques for diagnosing and treating patients. She retired in 2006 after devoting forty-years to a career in which her compassion for others, and keen insight helped improve the lives of countless people. Following her retirement, she served for three years on the board of the USC School of Social Work actively fundraising. She was married for fifty-seven years to the prolific Film and Television Writer-Producer William Sackheim, with whom she had two sons. Admired for her impeccable style and great enthusiasm for life, she was a charming and gracious hostess. JoAnne was well regarded in both the entertainment and psychoanalytic circles, forging lifelong friendships within both worlds. Family and friends would say of JoAnne, that she was loving, supportive, and someone with whom you could share the most personal experiences in confidence and safety. After her husband, Bill, died of complications related to Picks Disease (a degenerative brain disorder) JoAnne devoted her time and energies to advancing the awareness of the disease through her work with the AFTD (Association of Frontotemporal Degeneration). She supported others whose family members were afflicted by the illness, led numerous support groups and also served on the AFTD Medical Advisory Council. Driven to find a cure for this devastating, yet rare degenerative brain disorder, she worked tirelessly to raise funds for research. JoAnne was also a lifelong champion of progressive political causes. In the early 90's, Anita Hill testified before the Senate judiciary committee confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas. It was a time when national awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace heightened. The Hill-Thomas controversy sparked an increased involvement of women in politics, and JoAnne, who was deeply troubled by Ms. Hill's treatment before the committee, took up the cause with a vengeance, becoming an active member of the National Women's Political Caucus, The KCET Women's Council and Emily's list. She worked to find, promote and fundraise for female candidates throughout the rest of her life. In addition to championing women's causes, JoAnne was greatly concerned about global inequality and social injustice. She was a member of the World Affairs Council, a leading forum for global education and international affairs. Lastly, she served on the Albanian Human Rights Project (AHRP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to collect, film and preserve testimonies of Albanians who were politically imprisoned during Albania's communist regime. She is survived by her two sons, Andrew Sackheim, of New York, Daniel Sackheim, his wife Leslie, and their two children Josh and Emma, who reside in Encino California and her niece Vicki Gold of Mount Shasta. In lieu of flowers, contributions should be made to the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD). Radnor Station Building 2, Suite 320. 290 Kind of Prussia Road Radnor, PA 19807. (866)-507-7222.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from May 24 to May 26, 2014
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