An appreciation of Byrle Abbin, longtime AICPA member and volunteer

By Eileen Reichenberg Sherr, CPA, CGMA

Editor: Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.

Byrle Abbin, CPA, J.D., a respected, knowledgeable, and outspoken mentor to many estate, gift, and trust tax professionals, died on March 19, 2019. He was 87. He joined the AICPA in 1960 and continued to contribute his intelligence, ideas, efforts, and time to the profession and to many professionals for almost 60 years.

Byrle was always thinking and sharing his ideas. He was one of the most knowledgeable people I have known and worked with, and he was willing to share his great knowledge and thoughts with others — even when what he had to say may not have been a popular or common view. He was direct and not shy. He told you what he thought.

Byrle was a role model for the profession. It is interesting (but not surprising) to find out that he started off right from the beginning when taking the CPA Exam — Byrle was awarded the Elijah Watt Sells Gold Medal by the AICPA for writing the best examination in the nationwide CPA Exam in November 1959.

Later in his career, I was glad that he was able to see others recognize him for his many efforts. In 2001, he won the AICPA's Arthur J. Dixon Award, the accounting profession's highest award for tax service, recognizing a "Career of Service With Distinction in the Field of Taxation." In 2004, he received the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils' (NAEPC's) Distinguished Accredited Estate Planners award for his contribution to the promotion of estate planning expertise nationally. In 2008, the NAEPC presented him the Hartman Axley Lifetime Service Award in recognition of distinguished service to the estate planning profession.

We appreciate all that Byrle Abbin did for the AICPA and are glad that he offered his talents and wisdom to many practitioners and was part of the AICPA. He contributed a great deal to our efforts. We will miss Byrle. We know that his wife, Lily, daughter, Lisa, son, Marc, and granddaughter, Suzanne Kramer, will miss him, too.

A memorial was held May 13 at the Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington. Donations may be made in his honor to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research ( or the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (

Read the full tribute to Byrle Abbin here.

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