Alvin S. Wolpoff, co-founder of Wolpoff & Co. accountants

March 08, 1993|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,Staff Writer

Alvin S. Wolpoff, a Baltimore businessman and civic leader, died Saturday at his Pikesville home after a 2 1/2 -year battle with cancer. He was 66.

A co-founder of the accounting firm Wolpoff & Co., Mr. Wolpoff also had a wide range of civic, cultural and social interests. They were reflected in his memberships on the boards of a number of organizations, including The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Center Club and the University of Maryland Medical Systems.

During more than 40 years as a certified public accountant, he was a consultant to Baltimore City and state government on projects ranging from the development of the Inner Harbor to the construction of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He also offered personal financial advice to business and civic leaders.

Mr. Wolpoff played a key role in the development of the financial plan that allowed the symphony to stave off bankruptcy and achieve financial self-sufficiency in the mid-1980s, and helped negotiate a long-term contract with music director David Zinman.

In an introduction to his 20-part memoirs in Warfield's Business Record, a local weekly business publication, Mr. Wolpoff acknowledged he had spent a career in the "professional fast lane" in a field few people ever knew had one.

"Those of us engaged in the profession of public accounting have not generally been perceived in the same light as either astronauts or Green Berets," he wrote. "Hopefully, the 'green eye shade' image attributed to accountants has been diminished. . . . I cannot speak for other CPAs, but I have been fortunate in developing relationships that have often carried me into the realm of excitement and, at times, almost fantasy-like situations."

The Warfield's series concluded last month.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Wolpoff received a degree in accounting from the University of Maryland in 1949. He opened an accounting practice a year later, while attending Maryland's School of Law, from which he graduated in 1955.

He began Wolpoff & Co. in 1960 with three accountants. Today, the firm, which he headed until July, employs more than 100 professionals, making it one of the largest 50 accounting firms in the country, a company spokeswoman said yesterday.

He served on the boards of Baltimore City Life Museums, Center Stage, Sinai Hospital and the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

In his Warfield's memoirs, Mr. Wolpoff noted the unusualness of being a Jewish board member of the Catholic college -- and how he once "had to excuse myself as possibly the only committee member at Notre Dame to ever have to leave a meeting early in order to attend Passover services." But he said he was "made to feel totally comfortable and never concerned about the cultural differences."

For his many civic activities, Mr. Wolpoff was honored last year as the Maryland recipient of the public service award of the American Institute of CPAs.

Services were to be held at 11 a.m. today at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, 7401 Park Heights Ave.

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, the former Edith Rothman; a daughter, Deborah S. Wolpoff of Sedona, Ariz.; a son, Charles R. Wolpoff of Baltimore; his mother and stepfather, Belle and Alex Kloze of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.

The family suggested contributions to the University of Maryland Cancer Center, 22 S. Greene St., Baltimore 21201.

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