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2600 N Central Ave, Suite 640, Phoenix
2600 N Central Ave, Suite 640, Phoenix

John J. Gorman, CPA

August 13, 1948 to September 14, 2018

From John's Eulogy

"John was born in Brockton Massachusetts, in 1948, the home of Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler. Two names that you better know and respect if you want to grow up in Brockton.  A city of tough fighters and John kept that spirit alive.

He was the first born of John Joseph Gorman, Sr. and Margaret Mary Gorman.  He and his four brothers, Tom, Paul and Eddie were the epitome of Irish Catholic. His childhood friend Tony Petrocelli was his partner in crime.

John started playing golf very young, following in his Father’s footsteps. His old man was the go-to money golf game at Thorny Lea Country Club. John grew up on the golf course, carrying bags as caddie, and perfecting his game in city tournaments. The tips were good, but the life lessons were better.  John learned the art of networking and the world of business on the golf course. He was an ace with the fairway wood and the putter, his only true nemesis, the chip.

He met his beautiful wife Constance in high school and was determined to marry her, even though he was already dating her cousin Judy.  But he was smitten with Connie. He dated Connie as he attended Boston College and played Golf for BC.  Connie became the reason women were not allowed on the course during a tournament. They always had too much fun.  She was a great compliment to his somewhat shy and reserved personality at that time, and challenged John.  They were college sweethearts and Connie taught him that hard work always paid off.  She had a great job in imports/exports right out of high school and her boss convinced John to be an accountant and to get his CPA to always have a career. She helped him with his homework and payed his multiple parking tickets to ensure he graduated with honors from BC, but they still knew how to throw a party.

When the call to enlist came, John signed up. He would have been in on the ground in Vietnam as a Marine, and his story would have ended differently. But instead a truck hit him and Connie and although he broke many bones, lost a few teeth, and was unconscious for a few days, it saved his life. He was discharged before serving a day.

He married Connie on Sept 12, 1970, and they just celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary last week.

In 1973, Donna was born in Brockton. Forever becoming Daddies little girl.

John found that he could fit in at firms such as Laventhol and Horvath even as an Irish Catholic, his last name could be mistaken, and his mustache hid the rest.  After the blizzard of ‘78, John put in for a move, and his young family went to Tucson. He added hiking to his list of loves.  Carrying his new born boy, Christopher up Sabino Canyon on a regular basis. But Connie had a hard time trading her cocktail dresses and heels for jeans and cowboy boots. Always wanting Connie to be happy, he started looking to move.

John got a job with Toback, Rubenstein, Feldman & Murry in Phoenix, and they moved up the I-10 to Phoenix. He had no idea they would become part of his family.  Harold Toback took John under his wing and helped mentor him into the firm’s future.  John became Managing Partner of Toback CPAs in the Mid ‘80s and helped grow the firm to the 100 people it became by the time it sold. Toback was the go-to local accounting firm of the Valley. Hal Toback pushed John into becoming the Expert Witness for accounting matters.   He learned business valuation, teaching and the art of testifying from Hal.  He learned that half the court room would not like him, but the ultimate win was getting hired by opposing counsel on the next case. John went on to testify over 250 times.  That’s a lot of times stating your name for the record.

John dealt with the stress of running a firm by running. John became an avid runner, running with the Mummy Mountain Muthas, a name he helped coin. They burned through sneakers once a month. John went on to run in 15 marathons, and countless half marathons. He brought his family on wonderful trips to New York, Boston, St. George and San Francisco so they could cheer him on and watch him puke. It was quality family time. John became the poster child for Cheezits and Beer.  When the miles started to take their toll, he found his next pastime Beaches, Buffet and Beer.

In 2000, Toback sold to RSM McGladrey, he would tell you how it went but he had a non-disparagement clause. John could not stand to watch his Toback family fall apart, his clan was divided, and his Toback family became the leaders of other firms. His consolation was getting the chance to hire his Son and go his own way.  John took Chris under his wing, he was done managing, and now just wanted to teach his Son. He did not want the complex cases, he wanted to simplify life. He did not want staff, just his Son. He had about thirteen years to teach Chris what he could. In the end he did well.

Daddies little girl, Donna, carries on John’s love for Beaches, Jimmy Buffet and Beer.  Her home in San Diego was John’s favorite summer escape.  Walks with his wife, daughter, and dogs and sitting in a beach chair by the ocean were his preferred method of meditation.  Donna was seeing the world with her work and visiting the tropical islands and countries he hoped to go to in Jimmy’s songs. She and her mother will always be John’s “Little Miss Magic’s”.

He did slow down a bit finally and truly embraced the tropical lifestyle.  He built a wonderful home in Rocky Point, Mexico for his family’s winter wonderland. With the Sea of Cortez out their front door, they spent many a Thanksgiving and Memorial Day at the beach, along with any other holiday or weekend they could think of!  They had a close knit group of neighbors who became family and playing washers and having a Dos Equis became the physical activity of the day. He was able to spend time with his brother in law, Charlie Nilosek, and loved to bet on the horses.  He finally started to enjoy a three or four day weekend, and became known as “There is always manana” John.  No need to rush back to Phoenix on a Monday morning if you could stay in Mexico.  And boy did they know how to throw a beach party.  Mark Mulligan concerts on the front porch, light parades for New Year’s eve, washer tournaments on Memorial Day weekend, and always tons of costumes. I’m not sure why, but John always loved to dress up!  He was definitely “growing older…just not up” like Jimmy would say.

After surviving some heart attacks, and a broken hip he had a new chapter in his life, his first grandchild, Shane was born to Rachel and Chris.  John was terrified of babies, he was proud to say he never changed a diaper in his life. Connie will attest. But when Shane was put in his arms, he knew his life was a success.

Unfairly John had to fight a horrible disease called Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) for the past couple of years. It took away his world.  This strong public speaker and top expert witness, could no longer teach but only observe. He had limited mobility and that was tough for an avid runner and walker. He got to see his second grandchild born, Connor, and that kept him going.

In the end he only had the world around him, he was no longer able to participate in it. Still able to hear a joke, but not share one. He held on to see his Grandkids, Shane and Connor start their lives, but he needed to give his love of his life and now fulltime caregiver, Connie, a break.  He was strong!

John always said there would be a lot of people as his funeral. Half of them would be happy and the other half would be sad. And in true Gorman fashion “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane”! "