Academic journal article The Accounting Historians Journal

Retrospective: Paul Franklin Grady

Academic journal article The Accounting Historians Journal

Retrospective: Paul Franklin Grady

Article excerpt

Paul Franklin Peterson (sic) was born in a log cabin in Creal Springs, Illinois on May 19, 1900. He was born prematurely, weighing less than three pounds at birth, and was not expected to survive. Family tradition has it that, at birth, Paul was wrapped in a blanket and placed in a shoebox surrounded by heated bricks from the cabin fireplace. The heat from the bricks provided warmth and Paul did make it through that first night. Perhaps this was the initial indication of a fighting spirit and a will to overcome difficult situations that seems to characterize many highly successful persons of his era.

When Paul was five, his father, James Peterson, developed tuberculosis and, for reason of the elder Peterson's health, the family was compelled to move to Colorado in 1905. Later that year, James Peterson died and Paul, his mother and younger brother, Merrill, returned to southern Illinois, settling in the town of Marion. More than fifty years later, Paul first learned, as a result of an X-ray examination in connection with an application for life insurance, that he had, at an early age, also been the victim of tuberculosis. Apparently, although the trip had failed to cure the elder Peterson, Paul's undiagnosed case of the lung disease was unknowingly cured.

On the return trip from Colorado, Paul's mother, Myrtle Powless Peterson, met J. J. Grady, whom she subsequently married. At the time of her second marriage, however, Paul's name was not changed to Grady; he made the change himself upon reaching the age of eighteen. His brother, Merrill Peterson, never changed his name.

While growing up in Marion, Paul was a good student, excelling in mathematics and the physical sciences. This latter was important in that there was a substantial amount of coal mining locally and Paul developed an interest in mining at an early age. This prompted him to apply to the University of Illinois in 1918, seeking a degree in Chemical Engineering. We may speculate that this early interest in science and geology created a common interest with Herbert Hoover, who later became not only Grady's close personal friend but also his idol. Further, this close association with Hoover is in part, at least, responsible for Paul's continuing support of the Republican party and his strong conservative positions on many issues throughout his life.

Two additional aspects of Paul Grady's high school years; one is that, even though he was a short man, he excelled in basketball, being captain of the Marion high school team. From this experience, we can see again that element of Paul's character that caused him to succeed, even though he was not physically well suited, in one of the few major sports in town at the time.

The second aspect of Paul's high school years was his love of Louese Trevor, a local beauty who was a cheerleader for Marion High. She also had a lovely singing voice. Paul and Louese planned to be married after his graduation from the University of Illinois, anticipated in 1922. In the meanwhile, Louese went to Chicago Music College for three years after high school, to further her interest in music.

In the later years of his life, Paul said "I've only been in three partnerships in my life; one with Arthur Andersen, one with Price Waterhouse and one with Louese Trevor." Of the three, the latter was clearly the most lasting; Paul and Louese remained married for sixty two years, until Paul's death in 1984.

Once at the University of Illinois, Paul found that there was not time enough to take the demanding physical science courses, with afternoon lab sections as well as morning lectures, and to hold down a full time job, which was necessary to support himself, his family back in Marion and to provide savings for his anticipated marriage. After his third year, Paul was forced to abandon his chosen work in Chemical Engineering, in order to have the afternoons available for work, leaving evenings for study. …

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