David W. Brenner, 83, a retired accounting executive who served as both commerce and finance director under Philadelphia Mayor W. Wilson Goode Sr., died Thursday, July 18, in Florida.
Mr. Brenner was under hospice care at his home in Longboat Key when he died from complications of congestive heart failure, said daughter Lisa.
After Goode was elected mayor in 1983, his first cabinet appointment was Mr. Brenner as commerce director. Goode said at the time that Mr. Brenner was “the best mind I could find.”
Just a few weeks earlier, Mr. Brenner had retired at age 47 from Arthur Young & Co., where he had served as managing partner of the accounting firm’s Philadelphia office.
“I’m one of those guys who need challenges periodically,” Mr. Brenner said after his appointment.
He left his position in 1986 and returned to private life, but was again called upon to serve — this time as finance director — during Goode’s second term, when the city was hit hard by financial problems.
“David was a gentleman,” said Charles Pizzi, who worked as Mr. Brenner’s first deputy director of commerce. “He made everyone comfortable around him.”
Mr. Brenner was born and raised in Philadelphia. He graduated from Overbrook High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and immediately went to work at Arthur Young.
By 1969, he had risen to the position of managing partner. He later served as a senior partner at the firm before retiring.
He was active with local cultural institutions, including the Pennsylvania Ballet Company, where he held the position of chairman of the board of trustees.
Mr. Brenner also founded and was president of the Philadelphia Sports Congress.
He met his wife, Madeleine, when they were both 12 years old and attending Beeber Junior High in Overbrook, his daughter said. Their first date was attending the Ice Capades on New Year’s Eve of their ninth-grade year.
They married in 1957 and had three children.
Mr. Brenner and his wife moved to Longboat Key for retirement and traveled the world.
He couldn’t resist getting involved in government again. In Longboat Key, he sat on the Planning and Zoning Board and served two terms as a town commissioner and two years as vice mayor.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Brenner is survived by children Eric and Suzanne, three grandchildren, and a brother.