Wayne S. Boutell, professor emeritus of accounting at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, dies at age 76

by David Irons

Berkeley -- Wayne S. Boutell, professor emeritus of accounting at the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business, died Tuesday (March 12) of cancer at his home in Kensington. He was 76.

Boutell obtained his MBA from the University of Chicago and then joined the Navy as a pilot based in North Africa in World War II. After the war he became a CPA and partner in the accounting firm of Alexander, Grant & Co. (now Grant Thornton) in Chicago.

In 1960 he moved with his wife and four children to Berkeley. He obtained his Ph.D. in business administration from UC Berkeley in 1963 and became an assistant professor in the school of business, where he taught until December 1995.

Boutell was a pioneer in teaching the use of computers in accounting, and many UC Berkeley students considered him the teacher who introduced them to computers.

Regarded as a friend and mentor by generations of students on campus, he also taught UC Berkeley's introductory accounting course for many years. One of the largest courses on the campus, it regularly attracted 500 to 600 undergraduate students.

In 1990 Boutell became especially well known for an annual prank in that course. He would come to the final exam in the fall term dressed in a Santa Claus suit and announce that he had a present for all the students. He then would give them the answer to two of the 50 questions on the test.

He was a developer of computer-based auditing methods. He also developed controls for accounting information systems and generalized audit software for instructional purposes.

Especially well-known in the accounting profession in the Bay Area, he received awards for his work from Deloitte Haskins + Sells and Arthur Andersen & Co. He was named outstanding alumnus of the Berkeley chapter of the national accounting fraternity Beta Alpha Psi in 1987. In 1990, he received the Berkeley Citation, an award for distinguished achievement and for notable service to the university.

When he wasn't giving lectures, holding office hours, writing text books or serving as an expert witness for numerous court cases, he was very active, running his first marathon at 50, flying sorties over the California coast and the mountains of Montana in his private plane, and building and sailing boats.

For the past 21 years, he has spent many summers on Flathead Lake in Montana in the cabin that he built with his wife and children.

Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Yvonne, and his four children, Peter, Russell, Kim and Leslie and 11 grandchildren.

An avid supporter of Cal athletics, he often volunteered to recruit athletes and to work on committees devoted to improving the athletic program. He and his wife have held season tickets for football and basketball games for nearly 30 years.

In honor of his love of the UC Berkeley sports program, donations may be made to Bear Backers, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, 117 Hearst Gymnasium, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley CA, 94720. Donations may also be made to Hospice of Northern California.

At his request, there will be no memorial service.

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