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Published: Thursday, 3/31/2005

Accountant admired for her drive to succeed

TEMPERANCE - Sally B. Yeager, 78, who prepared tax returns for more than a half century, first as a secretary/bookkeeper and, later, as a certified public accountant and owner of her own business, died of cancer Tuesday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, South Detroit Avenue.

She continued to go into the office at Sally Yeager's Accounting & Tax Service in Sylvania Township until earlier this month.

"She always wanted to be there. That was her baby," her daughter, Kathy Vinal, said.

The firm's future will be determined after tax season, said Lois Langenderfer, vice president of the business who has been an accountant there for 20 years.

Newspaper articles noted Mrs. Yeager's expertise on tax matters. The firm also does general accounting for businesses.

"She loved the business. It kept her young," Mrs. Langenderfer said. "She would go to seminars and she would pick up everything."

Mrs. Yeager initially resisted computers, but she got her first in 1984 and became a convert: "I think the computer is what changed the accounting field," she told The Blade in 1999.

Mrs. Langenderfer said: "As times changed, she changed. She bought the best equipment, the best tax software."

Mrs. Yeager was a new arrival to Toledo in 1949 when she became a secretary for Osborne Bookkeeping & Tax Service. She began doing taxes not long after. She later noted that clients then paid $3 for a one-page, front-and-back return and most owed no taxes. There was no state or city income tax.

"I typed financial reports on a big old Remington typewriter, and we had a big old adding machine," she said in 1999. "There were no copying machines, no faxes, no voice mail. I don't know how we ever got through."

She got a public accounting license in the 1970s and then a CPA. She became a partner in the Osborne firm in 1982 and sole owner nine years later.

Mrs. Yeager enjoyed taking her employees to lunch and going to dinner and a show with her husband. She was in tune with fashion trends, and she was a leader in professional and business women's groups.

"She could get along with all kinds of people," her daughter said. "She had that kind of personality that people would trust her. She was totally honest. She was vivacious. She was always smiling."

Mrs. Yeager was a former Business Woman of the Year of the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants. She was a former president of the CPA society's Toledo chapter and of the Monroe Business & Professional Women's Club.

She was a member of Heritage Church of God in Monclova Township.

Mrs. Yeager was a native of Indianapolis.

Surviving are her husband, Walter A. "Bud" Yeager, whom she married Aug. 11, 1962; daughter, Kathy Vinal; stepson, Walter Yeager, Jr., and sister, Ruth Tipton.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Heritage Church of God, where the body will be after 3 p.m. tomorrow. Arrangements are by the J. Jeffrey Fretti Mortuary.

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