William Louis Raby
William Louis Raby
  • July 16, 1927 - December 25, 2017
  • Tempe, Arizona

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William Louis "Bill" Raby passed away on December 25, 2017, at the age of 90. He was predeceased in 1981 by his first grandchild, Robert Eric Kondziolka II, and in 2006 by his wife of 49 years, Norma Schreiner Raby. Bill is survived by his children, Marlene Raby Olson, 67, of Chandler, Arizona, and Parker, Colorado, Burgess J.W. Raby, 59, of Tempe, Arizona, Marianne Raby Kondziolka, 58, and her husband, Robert Eric Kondziolka, 59, of Chandler, Arizona, his friend and companion of recent years, Annanelle Hardt, 90, of Tempe, Arizona, his three grandchildren, Kelly Olson Gill, Lindsay Olson Bernum, and John Michael Kondziolka, and five great-grandchildren.
Bill was born in 1927 in Chicago, Illinois, and also lived in his early years in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and Adrian, Michigan. He was the oldest of the seven children, one of whom died in childbirth, of Gustave and Helen (Burgess) Raby. He served as a Navy corpsman during World War II at various posts in Virginia and North Carolina. After his discharge, he attended the University of Illinois and then graduated from Northwestern University in 1949 with a degree in accounting. Bill later earned a MBA and a Ph.D. from The University of Arizona. He became a CPA in 1949.
Bill's career as a CPA was unique in his ability to excel at both the practice and the teaching of accounting, primarily taxes. At various times, he was on the faculty at each of Rockford (Illinois) College, The University of Arizona, Ohio University, New York University, and Arizona State University, while engaging in full-time practice with variety of CPA firms, including Swenson & Raby in Rockford, Illinois, William L. Raby and Company in Tucson, Arizona, the national firm of Laventhol, Krekstein, Horwath & Horwath (later, Laventhol & Horwath), and, finally, the international firm of Touche Ross & Co. (after a merger subsequent to his retirement, now part of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited). Bill was, at various times, the National Tax Director for both Laventhol and Touche, as well at the Chair of Touche's International Tax Practice Committee. As a member by examination of the United States Tax Court bar, after his retirement from Touche, Bill also served as of counsel to Olsen-Smith Ltd. and then as a consultant on tax matters to his son Burgess, practicing as Raby Law Office in Tempe, Arizona, since 1993. He also was appointed by the governor for two terms to the Arizona Board of Tax Appeals, and served as Chair of that Board for two years.
Bill was the author or co-author of nine books on taxation, including multiple editions of The Income Tax and Business Decisions, Building and Maintaining a Successful Tax Practice, and The Reluctant Taxpayer (co-authored with Carl Riblet, Jr.), and also collaborated with Carl Riblet, Jr., in writing a nationally-syndicated newspaper column, also entitled "The Reluctant Taxpayer," for the L.A. Times Syndicate for about 10 years. He also authored and co-authored with his son, Burgess, a periodic column in the leading tax publication, Tax Notes, for a number of years.
A life member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Bill also served as the founding chair of its Federal Tax Division and as a Vice-President of the Institute. He also was a life member of the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants, as well as being a Certified General Management Accountant and a Certified Financial Planner. Bill frequently acted as a spokesperson for the CPA profession on radio, television, in the press, and before congressional tax committees, and was frequently quoted in The Wall Street Journal in the 1970s and 1980s.
Bill served in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) as an Elder of various congregations in Tucson and Tempe, Arizona, and Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, as well as a member of the National Advisory Council on Church and Society and Treasurer of the Synod of the Southwest. He also was active as President of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, on the finance committee of various political campaigns, and as the treasurer of the Sanctuary movement in 1970s. He enjoyed playing tennis, swimming, and bike riding. In the final chapter of his life, he resided at Friendship Village Tempe, where he enjoyed the fellowship, served on the Finance Committee, and led a current events discussion group. Bill will be greatly missed as a teacher and mentor by the many people whose lives he touched, as well as a loving generous father by his family.
A memorial service is scheduled at 10:00 am on Wednesday, January 3, 2018, at Green Acres Mortuary and Cemetery, 401 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale, Arizona. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Bill's memory can be made to Marine Conservation Institute (marine-conservation.org), the Alzheimer's Association (alz.org), the Sky Harbor Interfaith Chaplaincy, Inc. (skyharborchapel.org), or Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center (ghostranch.org).