Columbia Memorial Health (1) Careers

Richard Koskey shows little sign of slowing down

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By JEANETTE WOLFBERG

Richard Koskey pauses at the entrance to his Claverack farm office. Photo contributed

CLAVERACK–“Helping businesses and individual succeed by offering advice has been the most rewarding part of my 60 years of serving as an accountant in this community,” said Richard Koskey in conversations June 16 and July 10. “I’m happy to see the success of others. It is especially gratifying when I have played a part in assisting them. I’m looking forward to another 60 years,” he said with a playful smile.

Now, active and involved at 84, Mr. Koskey shares his life with his wife of 59 years, Susan; enjoys time with their 3 daughters and 8 grandchildren; does financial consulting; runs a beef cattle farm; and is involved with three charitable foundations. I look forward to working every morning,” he said. “Whatever comes along, I’ll take care of.”

On top of all this, Mr. Koskey is looking forward to playing golf and tennis again, once he completes recommended therapy after back surgery. While not expecting to win championships, as he did in the past, he is hoping to get back out swinging.

Though he occasionally still goes to his main office in Hudson, he most often works in the roomy office on his farm in Claverack. Everything in it, from family pictures to mementos, comes from his past and on-going life.

Mr. Koskey has worked in accounting since 1963, when he joined the Hudson firm of R. H. Pattison & Co. In 1968, he earned his CPA and became a partner in the firm. The firm changed its name many times over the decades, as other partners came and went. It always had an office in Hudson and opened offices in Chatham, Valatie, Albany, Catskill, Kingston and Rhinebeck. In 2017 the firm—then called Pattison, Koskey, Howe, and Bucci—moved to Hudson’s City Centre building. In 2020 the firm merged with UHY. It still maintains an office in City Centre.

This lengthy experience enables Mr. Koskey to guide” “his family of clients” through sales, acquisitions, tax strategies, and management and human resource decisions.

Over the 60 years, the accounting profession has changed, but “financial statements still have assets and liabilities. Any changes that have happened have improved the clarity of these statements,” Mr. Koskey said. The accounting profession basically has two parts: auditing and taxation. “Auditing still includes a financial report that, taken as a whole, reflects the financial position of the organization. Taxation rules and regulations change to reflect economic and social changes in the country. But the advent of computerized tax returns has assisted us in keeping up with these changes.”

Meanwhile, in 1966, Mr. Koskey and his wife made their home in Claverack. In 1984, they bought 150 acres of land adjoining it. This land included a dairy farm, which they converted to the Five Iron Farm to raise beef cattle. Over the years, they added buildings to the land, including Mr. Koskey’s office and a house for their daughter Nancy Patzwahl and her family. “The farm adds a beautiful bucolic atmosphere to the acreage,” he said.

Along the way, Mr. Koskey started additional companies, served on bank boards, and joined the leadership of several community and charitable organizations: business, medical, cultural, and educational.

In 1985, while Mr. Koskey was a trustee of Columbia-Greene Medical Center, New York State began discussing merging the hospitals of Columbia and Greene counties. With modern healthcare’s expensive sophisticated, and specialized equipment, “you can’t have a small hospital,” Mr. Koskey said. By 1990, when he became chairman of the Board of Trustees, the merger had just taken place, and Columbia County’s hospital was the lone survivor. “We had to make the merger effective and continue with healthcare, which we did,” Mr. Koskey said. The merger “was one of the hardest decisions of my entire career.”

Now, years later, though Columbia Memorial Health has affiliated with Albany Medical Center, Mr. Koskey has hopes for its survival. “Some services might consolidate, but I don’t think the state will allow” there not to be “a hospital between Albany, Poughkeepsie and Kingston.”

Mr. Koskey grew up in Greenport’s Lorenz Park, graduated from Hudson High School in 1956, and got a BA from Duke University. He intends to remain a vital part of the community.

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