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Published: Thursday, 1/26/2006

Accountant lauded for his ethics, dedication

William A. Jacoby, 84, who was a partner in one of the nation's largest accounting firms and president of a state professional society, died yesterday in Mercy Hospital of Tiffin.

He had been in declining health for more than a year, his son Mark said.

Mr. Jacoby, formerly of Sylvania Township, retired in 1981 as a partner in Arthur Young & Co., with which he had been an accountant for 35 years. The firm has been known as Ernst & Young since its 1989 merger with Ernst & Whinney.

He audited companies of all types and sizes and let the numbers tell the story, not the client's say-so, his son said.

"He was a black-and-white kind of guy," his son said. "In life in general, it was either right or wrong, and the numbers don't lie."

He was a former president of the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants and of its Toledo chapter.

He had been a director of the former Sylvania Savings Bank and volunteered for the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, serving on the board of Catholic cemeteries and volunteering his accounting services.

"He had a sense of duty. Ethics were a big part of what he did," his son said. "He was such a faith-based person."

Mr. Jacoby was born on a farm near Alvada, Ohio, and grew up in Fostoria, where he attended St. Wendelin School. He was a tackle on the high school football team and, on a football scholarship, attended John Carroll University, graduating with a degree in accounting.

He was a Navy veteran of World War II.

Mr. Jacoby and his first wife, Virginia, married Sept. 6, 1947. She died May 3, 1993.

Surviving are his wife, Kathleen, whom he married Dec. 27, 1997; daughters, Mary Ellen Estrada, Anne Heinl, and Janet Skidmore; sons, Stephen, Timothy, Mark, John, Paul, and William Jacoby; stepsons, Thomas and John Christopher Wonderly; sister, Dorothy Aubry; 30 grandchildren, and six step-grandchildren.

The body will be in the J. Jeffrey Fretti Funeral Home after 2 p.m. tomorrow, with Scripture services at 7 p.m. tomorrow in the mortuary. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Little Flower Church, where he had been a member.

The family suggests tributes to Franciscan Missions in Carey Ohio; Little Flower Church; St. John's Jesuit High School in Toledo, or the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

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