Services were held Tuesday for Howard Rossman, a tax accountant from Mount Sinai who was so beloved by his clients that several offered to donate kidneys when he fell ill.
Rossman died Monday at 67 of kidney failure and complications from diabetes at the Good Shepherd Hospice Center in Port Jefferson.
In April, doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center had been prepared to transplant a kidney from a client, Renee Acquista, 46, of Manorville, who offered and was a match. But at the last minute the procedure was deemed too risky because of Rossman's lung issues, said his son, Joshua Rossman.
"She had the IV in her arm," said Joshua. "They were that close to doing the surgery. Then they said there was fluid in his lungs."
Acquista said Rossman had been preparing her family's taxes for 20 years and that the families had grown close. "I would do anything for him," she said.
Services were at The Branch Funeral Home in Miller Place.
Rossman was known for his gregarious nature and practical jokes. During tax season, the waiting room of his Port Jefferson Station office had something approaching a party atmosphere, said clients. Some wore T-shirts Rossman had specially made that said "Taxes are Fun."
"Dad really had a lot of fun and would go out into the waiting room and tell jokes and entertain the clients," said Joshua.
Born in Manhattan, Rossman studied psychology and accounting at Queens College and, after graduation, went to work as an accountant for a perfume company. In 1972 he joined the Internal Revenue Service, working out of offices in Brooklyn and Jamaica before relocating to Mount Sinai. He left the agency in 1979 and took over an accounting practice that had been started in Manhattan in the 1950s by his uncle. Rossman ran it from his home for a time before moving into quarters at 16 Roosevelt Ave. in Port Jefferson Station.
A client and neighbor in Mount Sinai, Liz Bertini, said Rossman helped her and her husband stay in their home during a rough economic patch during the recession. "We loved him, he was full of life," she said. "All I can say is Howie lived to help people."
Rossman Tax Service Inc.'s website says it has consumer and business clients in 36 states and eight countries.
His wife, Adria, who survives him, joined the business around 1990 and is now its president. Joshua, of Mount Sinai, joined the business in 2001.
In addition to his wife and son, survivors include a daughter, Robyn Roeloffs of Coram; a sister, Barbara Steinberg of New City; Joshua's wife, Laura, of Mount Sinai; and three grandchildren.