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Robert Gray, Former NYSSCPA Executive Director, Dies at 94

Ruth Singleton
Published Date:
Nov 6, 2023

Robert L. Gray, who served as both executive director of the NYSSCPA and in various roles—including editor-in-chief and publisher—at The CPA Journal, from 1970 to 1998, died on Nov. 1 at the age of 94.

Walter Primoff, an NYSSCPA member of more than 40 years, posted on the Exchange message board, “The passing of two of my mentors, Bob and Sid Kess within months, both well into their 90s, is the end of an era. Both were amazing leaders and influencers of the profession who left a big imprint and will not be forgotten by anyone who knew them.” (Legendary tax expert and educator Sidney Kess passed away on Sept. 17.)

Gray was an Air Force pilot, then became a CPA and earned a Ph.D. in. management organization and theory. He worked in both local and national firms and as a consultant, and was a professor at SUNY Binghamton before becoming the Society's executive director.

In 2006, the NYSSCPA inducted Gray into the Society’s CPA Hall of Fame for his contributions to the profession and the larger community.

Former NYSSCPA CEO Joanne S. Barry said, "Bob Gray was a fierce advocate for the ethics and integrity of the profession. He was the force behind mandatory continuing education becoming law in New York state, which served as a national model.  He supported a voluntary peer review program, which has evolved into the form we know today. He was fiercely proud of The CPA Journal, and cast it as a national publication, wanting to share its complex content with a broader audience."

In a June 1998 interview with former CPA Journal Editor-in-Chief James L. Craig in the Journal, Gray said, “I have always felt an obligation to myself and the … members of my society to express my views on topics and issues of concern to the best of my capability, and, hopefully, based upon a solid analysis of the issues.”

During that interview, Gray also spoke about how the Journal, under his stewardship, expanded its focus to national issues: “About a year before I came on board, the publication committee had proposed to the society's board of directors that the magazine's distribution and coverage be expanded to appeal to CPAs beyond New York. The proposal was on the table, but had not been implemented. The society's leadership left it up to me to decide how and when, and even if, the recommendation would be implemented. Max Block was the editor—an outstanding editor, well known for his attention to detail and his hard-nosed exacting demands on contributors. … Surprisingly to some—he was a tough taskmaster—Max and I got along marvelously well, immediately, and became friends professionally and personally. In fact, he agreed to stay on in a pure editorial capacity as long as I agreed to provide the leadership to implement the expansion. We became co-editors.”

The Trusted Professional will include a memorial tribute to Gray in its November/December issue.

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