Society Mourns Passing of Past President Stuart Kessler

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Aug 7, 2019
Stuart Kessler

Stuart Kessler, who served as president of the NYSSCPA from 1984 to 1985, passed away on Aug. 5 at the age of 90. 

Kessler, a Cohn Reznick tax partner, joined the Society in 1957. In the years since then, he participated in literally dozens of Society committees and initiatives. Over the course of his membership, he chaired the Investment of Society Funds committee, the Annual Leadership Conference committee, the Awards Committee, a task force on committee structure, the Nominating Committee, and the Practice Management Oversight Committee. He participated as a member in many more. He also served on the Board of Directors from 1983 to 1986 and as president of the Foundation for Accounting Education Board of Trustees in 1986. Recognizing his many achievements, the Society honored him with the Distinguished Service Award in 1996. 

This year, he also received the American Institute of CPAs' (AICPA) Stanley H. Breitbard Lifetime Achievement in Personal Financial Planning Award. He was honored for the key role he played in launching the AICPA’s Personal Financial Planning Division over 30 years ago as well as his continued contributions advancing the profession. He led the way in having personal financial planning set forth as one of the five core services for future CPA practitioners in the CPA Vision initiative in the late 1990s. Kessler also served as president of the Accountants Club of America from 2008 to 2010.

Kessler continued working with clients and their families until shortly before his passing. Those he worked with included composer Samuel Barber, conservative author William F. Buckley, folk singer Oscar Brand, and former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and his wife, Mathilda.

According to Accounting Today, Kessler graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1947, earned his bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College in 1950, and then served in the U.S. Air Force. After his service, he earned an MBA from the City College of New York in 1953, a J.D. in 1957 from Brooklyn Law School and an LL.M. in taxation from New York University in 1962. He worked at a firm called Klein, Hinds & Finke from 1952 to 1960, was a partner at Rothstein, Kessler & Co. from 1960 to 1970, and co-founded Goldstein Golub Kessler in 1970, remaining there until 2010, when he moved to JH Cohn (later known as CohnReznick). He was frequently named among Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the profession.

According to his memorial in the New York Times, he ran three marathons and traveled to almost every Olympic game for over 50 years to cheer on the U.S. team. He was also a Yankees fan and a lover of classical music and opera.

Kessler is survived by his wife, Isabel; their three sons, Glenn, Brad and Jeff; his brother Floyd; daughters-in-law Dona Ann McAdams, Lauren Wadsworth, and Kristina Mustacich; and five grandchildren, Samuel, Jules, Patrick, Morris and Charles. The funeral service will be held at the Greenburgh Hebrew Center at 515 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 9. In lieu of flowers, his family would prefer a donation to the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, Inc., or the Greenburgh Hebrew Center, both of which he was deeply committed to. 

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