Lexington businessman Richard O. Dorton, 60, died Tuesday at University of Kentucky Hospital after a brief illness.
Mr. Dorton, along with Doug Dean and Joe Ford established the accounting firm Dean Dorton Ford in 1982. It merged with Louisville-based Cotton + Allen in 2011 to become Dean Dorton Allen Ford, one of the largest accounting firms in the state with more than 150 employees.
Mr. Dorton was CEO for 15 years until last year, when he transitioned out of the position to allow younger leaders to emerge. He continued to work with clients.
The Lexington branch focused on health care, banking and equine practice but Mr. Dorton "called himself a generalist," said David Bundy, who succeeded Mr. Dorton as the firm's CEO. "He could give advice to equine, manufacturers, construction, financial institutions. Richard was comfortable in all those areas."
Bundy said that Mr. Dorton also expanded the firm's role to include technology outsourcing and consulting. "You usually don't hear the word 'visionary' with 'accountant' but Richard realized accountants could do more," he said.
A native of Pikeville, Mr. Dorton earned a bachelor's degree in economics and an MBA from the University of Kentucky.
Besides holding leadership positions in many professional organizations, Mr. Dorton also was involved in the community.
He was a past chairman and board member of the YMCA of Central Kentucky and chairman of the High Street Neighborhood Center.
"Richard contributed to this community in so many ways, and the Y especially benefitted from his leadership and guidance," David Martorano, president and CEO of the YMCA of Central Kentucky, said in a statement. "He was a longtime volunteer with our organization and contributed to many important milestones in our history, including the development of the Beaumont and North Lexington Family YMCA's when he was board chair in 1998."
Mr. Dorton was a member of First United Methodist Church, where he was a Sunday school teacher and chairman of the administrative board. He also was chairman of the equitable finance committee of the Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church.
He is survived by his wife, Debra Sparks Dorton; and three children, Breck Dorton, Will Dorton and Abbie Thornberry.
A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 2 at First United Methodist Church. Memorial contributions are suggested to YMCA Central Kentucky.