1957 to 2018

THE GENESIS  |  1957

The genesis of the Tri-State Tax Institute occurred in 1957 when four distinguished professional tax practitioners began discussing the fact that the Ohio Valley did not have any conferences to disseminate current Internal Revenue Service Tax Rulings and Regulations and new tax legislation enacted during the past year by Congress. It was determined that a need existed, and with the assistance of the president of Wheeling Jesuit College (Wheeling Jesuit University), the first such meeting was planned in the Spring of 1958. The meetings were held during late April during 1958 and 1959. Initially, this seemed to be an appropriate time, as everyone was extremely busy during tax season (January 1 to April 15). The additional time from April 15th until the end of the month would give the speaker time to prepare their talk without the burden of closing out the calendar year for accounting purposes and the filing appropriate tax returns. However, after 1959, the time was changed to the middle of May, to give speakers additional time to prepare their topic. Weekends were suggested so that any out of town speaker could travel to Wheeling and the attendees would not miss any time out of their offices. The conferences that were held in May frequently seemed to fall on the same date as the Kentucky Derby.

The goal was to form an organization under the auspices of Wheeling Jesuit College using their exempt tax status. The College would bank all of the funds collected and write the necessary checks to pay appropriate expenses. A corporate form of business was formed to operate the organization.

A Chairman was selected and the various related sponsoring organizations formed the Board of Directors. The original representative organizations were: Wheeling Jesuit College; Ohio County Bar Association; Wheeling Chapter of the West Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants; National Association of Accountants; in Cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service. The sponsoring organizations provided members to appear on Channel 7 – “Tax Tips from the Tri-State Tax Institute.”

Planning for the conferences usually began with the Chairman calling the sponsoring members to meet at various places, such as the Fort Henry Club, Elks Club, 12th Street Grill, Downtowner and any other place that they could meet and conduct the business of selecting the speakers. These various places proved to be unsatisfactory. Finally, thanks to Wheeling Jesuit College, we were permitted to meet at the College for lunch. There we had the privacy to more effectively conduct our meetings.


During an early meeting, the members of the Board selected as the name of their organization: Tri-State Tax Institute. This name was used to encompass the Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio areas where the majority of the attendees originated. The mailing list was taken from t he phone books of Wheeling, Steubenville, and Washington. Also, the rosters of the Certified Public Accountants, Ohio County Bar Association, and National Association of Accountants were utilized.

Wheeling Jesuit College offered a meeting area in Swint Hall for the first Institute (later named Troy Lounge and Troy Theater).

The initial Institute was organized. In order to honor the speakers for their time and effort in preparing their talks, a dinner was held at Eric’s Steak House, Waddels Run Road. The dinner was moved in 1978 to Wilson Lodge, Oglebay Park. In 1979 and subsequent years, the dinner was moved to Wheeling Jesuit’s College’s Benedum Room. The College proved to be more convenient for this get together as we able to have more room to meet and honor our guests. A podium was provided and the seating was more relaxed.

During the late 1980’s, various professional organizations began requiring their members to have 30 to 40 hours of Continuing Professional Education. The attendance at the Institute rose significantly. Previously, the average attendance was 45. We were very pleased the first year that we exceeded 100. Due to funds received and the very low overhead due to Wheeling Jesuit College providing all the facilities, the Rev. Charles E. Curry, S.J. suggested that we use the surplus funds for scholarships for deserving accounting students. Substantial scholarships were awarded over the years from this program.

Congress was (and still is) providing substantial tax law simplifications. Usually the tax laws were enacted later in the year. Therefore, the Institute was changed from the spring to the fall to more fully grasp the changes enacted into law for the subsequent year. The date selected was Columbus Day, as the College was closed and the Institute had the full use of the facilities, including parking, dining room and Swint Hall.

As the Institute grew in attendance and more diverse groups (Accountants, Lawyers, Insurance Agents, and Bankers) were in attendance, break out sessions were instituted with the purpose of having a topic that would please most attendees. New buildings were constructed at the College. Father Thomas Acker requested that we utilize the new buildings for break-out sessions to allow the attendees to exercise between sessions and to show-off the beauty and modern technology of these two new facilities.

The representatives of the various sponsoring organizations rarely changed. The longest continuous member was R. Clark Morton who served from 1961 to 1995, a period of thirty-five years. The changes usually occurred when a member would retire or was transferred. There are currently four distinguished members of the Institute with long continuous service: Jim Kacsmar, Kim McClusky, Bruce Bandi and Logan Sturgeon.

Mary Ann Rafa knew of a student that had graphic arts ability. She presented a proposal to the Sponsors Committee to permit that student to prepare a logo that was representative of the Tri-State Tax Institute. Upon presentation of the logo, it was immediately accepted. The triangle representing the Tri-States; the inscription Tri-State Tax Institute at Wheeling Jesuit University reflecting the close ties of the two organizations; and TSTI strolled across the triangles representing the initials of the organization.

The founders instituted a program that began in 1957 and continues today, with the 46th Annual Tri-State Tax Institute. They had an idea that was timely and accepted by practitioners in the tri-state area. The Institute is fortunate that tax practitioners are willing to continue presenting excellent programs at a reasonable fee and providing scholarships for deserving accounting students.


Robert C. Coe, CPA, Group Manager, Internal Revenue Service, Wheeling, WV
David B. Holden, Esq., Phillips & Holden, Wheeling, WV
Frederick Roth, CPA, S. R. Snodgrass & Co., Wheeling, WV
Henry S. Schrader, Esq., Schrader, Stamp & Co., Wheeling, WV
Rev. William F. Troy, S.J., Wheeling Jesuit College, Wheeling, WV


Robert C. Coe, CPA, Chairman

David Holden, Esq.
Henry Schrader, Esq.

Donald E. Griffin, CPA
Frederick Roth, CPA

Hale Fox, CPA
John Bole, CPA

Rev. William F. Troy, S.J.


1958 – 1964 Robert C. Coe, CPA, Internal Revenue Service
1965 – 1966 R. Clark Morton, Esq., Herndon, Morton, & Herndon
1967 – 1971 Robert C. Coe, CPA, Internal Revenue Service
1972 – 1995 William J. Reddy, CPA, Internal Revenue Service
1996 – 1997 Thomas C. O’Connor, CPA, O’Connor & Associates
1998 P. Kim McCluskey, CPA, JD, Wesbanco
1999 James F. Kacsmar, CPA, Kacsmar & Company
2000 R. Bruce Bandi, CTFA, Wesbanco
2001 Christopher C. Freeman, CFP, Parker/Hunter
2002 – 2015 Robert J. Krall, Herndon, Morton, Herndon and Yaeger
2016 Anthony J. Habbit, Wesbanco
2017 – 2021 Michael E. Kelly, JD, Ohio County Clerk
2022 Steven B. Waters, CFA, Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.


The Institute began with Rev. Charles Curry calling the meeting to order and welcoming our speakers and members to Wheeling Jesuit College. Upon his uttering the first word of welcome, roofers started drilling immediately overhead, and it was impossible to hear anything. Rev. Curry’s last words at the podium, “That noise is going to stop as soon as I can get on the roof.”

We had a speaker scheduled for 10:00 a.m. At 10:05 he was not present. Immediately, we went to find a telephone to call the absent speaker and determined that he thought his speech was at 11:00. He would come immediately. Upon arriving back at the room, much to everyone’s surprise, Dimitri Shiry, CPA who happened to be a subsequent speaker, was lecturing on the speech that our scheduled speaker was supposed to present. That’s when we decided to invite Dmitri back more often.

Speakers are given a certain time period. One particular speaker was substantially over his allocated time and Ben Honecker, Esq. attempted to have the speaker end his presentation. Ben’s attempt went for naught, as the speaker continued his presentation for another 10 minutes, causing lunch and the remainder of the program to be forty-five minutes off schedule. The people serving lunch were not happy.

One of our speakers fainted 15 minutes into his lecture collapsing on stage. Fortunately, he was not injured much to the relief of the members. It was later determined that he had the flu. Since the next speaker had not arrived, we had to adjourn for 45 minutes. The speaker was well the next day; the committee had a much longer recovery period.

When the sponsors’ organization was expanded to include bankers, we did not have a category for bankers. Therefore, we invented one, known as the Ohio Valley Bankers Association. We were then able to include two bankers into our board. No one ever questioned the validity or anything about the Ohio Valley Bankers Association.