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Award-winning UNM professor emeritus John A. Yeakel dies at 85

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — John A. Yeakel, a professor emeritus of management and Latin American studies at the University of New Mexico and a prominent member of the state’s accounting community, died Aug. 30 in Albuquerque after a lengthy fight with melanoma. He was 85.

John Yeakel

YEAKEL: Taught that accounting is about people

Yeakel was born on Christmas Day 1930 in Pennsylvania, where he later worked for banks in Bethlehem and Quakertown. After serving in the Army as a pharmacist during the Korean War, he received his CPA license and earned his bachelor and master’s degrees in accounting and finance from Pennsylvania State University. He taught at Penn State for a couple of years before moving to Santa Fe in 1963 to work as a senior auditor for Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. He subsequently received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida, where he was an accounting instructor.

From 1965 through 1988, Yeakel taught finance and accounting at the UNM Anderson School of Management. He also taught Latin American studies at UNM from 1988 through 1990.

He was the recipient of several awards for teaching excellence, authored a number of articles for professional journals, and was active in a host of professional organizations. In 1991, he received the New Mexico CPA Society’s first Lifetime Achievement Award in Accounting Education.

Mike Walker, a former tax partner at REDW, recalls his last accounting class at UNM was with Yeakel. “I remember him so well because over the course of my accounting education I had five or six professors, and I would have to say he definitely was the best. He didn’t just shovel out information about accounting principles, he really cared for his students and enjoyed accounting,” he said.

“The one thing he exuded and instilled in me was a love for the practice of public accounting, and that’s hard to do because of the nature of the subject, which is dull and boring to most people. But he made it exciting and conveyed that accounting is about people, not just numbers.”

Yeakel is survived by his wife, Deborah W. Davis, a former APS teacher whom he married in 1969. He also is survived by two sisters and three brothers. A private burial service has been held.

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