Mahlon Rubin, 89; founding partner of RubinBrown accounting firm

Mahlon Rubin

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Mahlon Rubin, a founding partner of the accounting firm Rubin, Brown, Gornstein and Co., now RubinBrown, died Thursday, Sept. 4.  He was 89 and a longtime resident of Clayton.  

Mr. Rubin was widely admired in the accounting profession and within the community for his active involvement and generous support of numerous philanthropic organizations.

Mr. Rubin was born Oct. 1, 1924 in East St. Louis, the son of the late Charles and Rose Tabachnik Rubin.  He was a graduate of East St. Louis High School.  During World War II, he served in the Air Force.  On his return from military service, Mr. Rubin attended and graduated from Washington University with a bachelor of science degree in business.  In 1952, he was a founding partner of the accounting firm originally known as Rubin, Brown, Gornstein and Co., now RubinBrown.

“When Mahlon, along with Harvey Brown and Sidney Gornstein formed Rubin, Brown, Gornstein & Co. in St. Louis in 1952, they only dreamed that their firm would evolve into a national leader in accounting and business consulting profession,” a company spokesman said.  “Mahlon was steadfast in his dedication to superior client service. It was his passion for totally satisfied clients that built the foundation of RubinBrown and the core values that the team members live by everyday.”

Today, RubinBrown is ranked 43rd in the nation among accounting firms and has more than 450 team members working from offices in St. Louis, Denver and Kansas City.

To honor Mr. Rubin’s leadership and “unwavering commitment to client service,” RubinBrown created an annual award named after him several years ago.  The Mahlon Brown Award is given every year to a RubinBrown team member who demonstrates extraordinary client service.

According to John Herber, managing partner at RubinBrown, “Even after retirement,  Mr. Rubin remained very engaged in the firm as Retired Partner of Counsel and came into the office every day as he had for 62 years.”

He was active and held leadership roles both within the accounting profession and community organizations, including serving on the boards of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), a member of the Missouri Society of CPAs and a past president of the St. Louis County CPA Associates.

Within the Jewish community, Mr. Rubin served on the boards of  Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Jewish Federation, Jewish Center for Aged, Temple Israel and the Jewish War Veterans.

In addition to serving on the Jewish Federation Board of Directors, Mr. Rubin served on its Endowment Fund Committee and the Community Services Planning Committee.  He was a past State Commander of the Jewish War Veterans USA; a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council and a member of the Missouri-Southern Illinois Regional Advisory Board of the Anti-Defamation League.  He was also a member of the Meadowbrook Country Club and the Clayton Club.  He enjoyed sports, especially golf.

Mr. Rubin received numerous awards and honors, including the Gold Medal for Distinguished Service from the AICPA, a Distinguished Alumni Award from Washington University, the Outstanding Businessperson of the Year by the City of Clayton and St. Louis County. He was also honored by St. Louis University with a Distinguished Accounting Award, and was named Best Tax Practicioner by Money Magazine and Accounting Advocate of the Year, State of Missouri by the Small Business Administrator.

Mr. Rubin also served on the Accounting Advisory Board of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.  He and his family were recipients of the American Jewish Committee of St. Louis Netzach Award for generations of generous support and involvement in community and charitable activities.

“He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by all the many lives he touched,” a family member said.

Ken Rubin, one of Mahlon Rubin’s sons, said, in remarks  at the funeral service, “Mahlon.  People always ask me why I call him Mahlon and not father or dad, which I’ve done since I was very young.  My answer was always ‘I don’t know.’  But as I think about it, I now realize that Mahlon was more like a best friend to me, as well as my mentor and role model.  Certainly I felt loved like a son, but my memories were more of fun times with a special friend.  

“Whether it was him ‘teaching’ me to play golf at an early age (although his handicap never got below 23) or attending hundreds of sporting events over the years, I know we realized great joy out of just being together.  But I also learned so much just being with him . . .”

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Maurine Greenberg Rubin; three sons Larry Rubin, Rich Rubin and Ken (Jane Tzinberg) Rubin, and four grandchildren.

Funeral services for Mr. Rubin were held Sunday at Berger Memorial, where Rabbi Mark Shook of Temple Israel officiated.  Burial was at Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol Cemetery, 9125 Ladue Road. Memorial contributions preferred to the charity the donor’s choice.