Benjamin Fishbein, 91, of Elkins Park, the founder of Fishbein & Co. Certified Public Accountants and an adviser to many Philadelphia-area businesses, died Friday, March 15, from renal failure at his home.
Born to Charlie and Goldie Fishbein in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia, Mr. Fishbein graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School, where he was captain of the football team.
In 1945, he enrolled at Temple University on a full four-year scholarship, although he worked as a truck driver and stevedore to pay for his living expenses. On the first day of classes, he met Joyce Simkins. The two married at Curtis Arboretum late in May 1949 after he graduated from Temple. They settled in Mount Airy, and later in Wyndmoor, to raise a family.
In 1949, Mr. Fishbein began his career as a junior accountant at Goldenberg Rosenthal Certified Public Accountants in Jenkintown. Not long after joining the firm, he decided to branch out on his own and founded Fishbein & Co., which over the years moved to Horsham, then Fort Washington, then Spring House, and finally Elkins Park. The firm grew to encompass more than 100 employees.
As an accountant, Mr. Fishbein was skillful at evaluating the financial prospects of different kinds of enterprises. As a result, Fishbein & Co. became known for providing accounting services and business advice to local companies ranging from mom-and-pop corner stores to a large distributor of fresh fruit and other produce.
Mr. Fishbein’s daughter, Susan F. Dubow, said in a eulogy that one of her earliest childhood memories was going to sleep every night with the sound of the adding machine “tat-tatting away” as Mr. Fishbein did calculations at home. He also liked to sing a German drinking song as a lullaby, she said.
“These were both regular, solid routines, nontraditional for sure, but they made me feel safe, secure, and loved. That was Dad’s superpower — making all of us feel safe, loved, accepted, supported, and secure, no matter what the circumstance,” his daughter said.
Mr. Fishbein retired nine years ago. In 2010, Fishbein & Co. was acquired by WeiserMazars LLP, which is now Mazars USA LLP, a global accounting firm.
When not practicing accounting, Mr. Fishbein devoted himself to his family and volunteered as a board member for the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, now Salus University.
His family described him as not only “a gregarious and fun-loving rascal,” but also “a rock” for those around him when personal advice was needed.
Although a poor driver, Mr. Fishbein loved a car trip and didn’t hesitate to ask for directions. “Which way to the Grand Canyon?” was one memorable example, his family said.
He was a polished swing dancer, and a determined golfer and bridge player.
He lived by the motto, “Work hard, play hard, and love with intensity,” his family said. “He loved to listen to people’s stories and learn about their lives, and that has informed how we’ve lived our lives,” his daughter said.
In addition to his daughter and wife, he is survived by sons Michael and Daniel; eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a brother.
Funeral services were Sunday, March 17.