KPMG's first managing partner on Long Island, Gerry Rooney, is...

KPMG's first managing partner on Long Island, Gerry Rooney, is pictured in this undated file photo. Credit: Handout

Gerald Rooney, a partner in KPMG who opened the accounting giant's first Long Island office in 1966, died Sunday at his home in East Norwich. He was 81.

His family did not give a cause of death.

Rooney was a newly minted partner in the firm when he persuaded senior management to let him open a Garden City outpost in 1966. They gave him a staff of 30.

By 1986, when he retired, it had become the largest accounting office on Long Island. KPMG, meanwhile, expanded its operations, becoming one of the world's largest professional services networks, with revenues last year of more than $20 billion.

Rooney's office was the first from a national accounting firm on Long Island when it opened, said Tony Dalessio, the office's current managing partner. "He had the vision that Long Island was the place to be," he said.

As the region's population swelled, Rooney and his team found customers in banks, retailers and manufacturers who moved in. They later expanded to serve a growing technology sector.

Rooney's daughter, Michele Condello, remembered him working "constantly" in those days. But, by agreement with his wife, Claire, he never missed 6 p.m. dinner with their three children.

Rooney was also a major figure in Long Island civic life, where his business contacts and accounting skills made him a valued board member. The list of organizations he served includes the Long Island Association, United Way of Long Island, Diocese of Rockville Centre, Jericho Water District and the Zoning Appeals Board for the Village of Muttontown.

He also supported the Boy Scouts, though he was Manhattan-born and had never been a Scout himself.

"Being outdoors was not something he'd grown up with," said his son, Bob Rooney. "But the ideas -- service, ethics -- these were things he believed in."

Rooney was one of six children born to Irish immigrants. His father drove a garbage truck before he was promoted to supervisor.

Scholarships put him through Annunciation School, Regis High School and Fordham University, where he graduated in 1952. Later, during the Korean War, Rooney served as a gunnery officer aboard the destroyer USS Dashiell.

Funeral Mass was held Thursday at St. Edward the Confessor Roman Catholic Church in Syosset.

He is survived by his wife, Claire, sons Bob and John Rooney, daughter Michele Condello, and 10 grandchildren.

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