Vero News

Rebecca B. Colton posthumously honored with Pinnacle Award

VERO BEACH — A packed crowd attended the Fourth Annual Pinnacle Award Breakfast at the Quail Valley River Club to pay tribute posthumously to Rebecca (Becky) B. Colton, this year’s award recipient.

Colton was just 57-years-old when she passed away in September, 2010, leaving behind a legacy of professionalism, friendship and love through her many dealings in the community.  

Colton had lived most of her life in Vero Beach, graduating in 1971 from Vero Beach High School, and in 1986 establishing the firm Rebecca B. Colton, CPA.  Her husband, Bruce Colton is the State Attorney serving the 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida.

The room was brimming with fellow CPAs, attorneys and bankers, along with numerous development representatives from the many non-profit organizations she had cheerfully assisted with accounting and auditing services through her practice.

The Pinnacle Award recognizes excellence in charitable planning; honoring professional advisors for their outstanding voluntary service to local non-profit organizations in promoting charitable giving through estate and gift planning.  The award is presented by the Indian River Estate Planning Council and the Planned Giving Council of Indian River.

Previous recipients were attorneys Robin A. Lloyd, Sr. in 2008, Samuel A. Block in 2009 and John E. Moore, III in 2010.

Event chairman Richard Johnson, Gift Planning Counselor at the VNA, welcomed the gathering and thanked sponsors, and then turned the microphone over to Sue Tompkins, who had nominated Colton for the award.

“When I first heard that the Pinnacle Award was being established, my immediate reaction was –  we have to make sure that Becky gets nominate.  She needed to be recognized,” said Tompkins, Vice President/Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch.  “You could not help but like Becky.  She was very good at what she did, and she loved what she did.”

Tompkins related that the process of putting together all that Becky had done for the community, especially in helping non-profit organizations to get their financial houses in order, was a collaborative effort.

“Becky did so much, but did it quietly,” added Tompkins, equating the process of gathering pieces for the tribute to that of putting a puzzle together. “All her work was understated and behind the scenes.  The loss of her time, talent and treasure will be felt in this community for a long time to come.”

Kerry Bartlett, Executive Director of the Indian River Community Foundation, spoke next, remembering back to 1997, when she was employed by the United Way as its Campaign Director, and the Coltons took on the role of United Way Campaign Co-Chairs.

“They focused on tailoring the campaign to the community,” said Bartlett, relating that their campaign raised $1.25 million, five percent over the goal.

In addition to the United Way, Colton was instrumental in the founding of SafeSpace, was a member of a number of charitable foundations and crafted a planned gift for the Humane Society of more than $1 million.

“Her clients were all confident in her abilities,” said Bartlett.

She commented that award recipients must be of high integrity and respected by their professional peers, and with volunteer activities and accomplishments that are an inspiration to others.

“She embodied those values and is the perfect recipient of the Pinnacle Award,” Bartlett said in closing.

The final tribute came from Andy Williams, a fellow CPA at what is now Colton & Williams, PA., who likened Colton’s lifestyle to the Biblical expression “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

“Becky’s treasures were shopping, her home and family, and her accounting practice,” said Williams, proceeding to relate some humorous and touching stories.  “She created the best treasure of all; an investment in the people she loved. She gave her heart to the people she loved.”

Bruce Colton accepted the award on Becky’s behalf with heartfelt thanks to all who had come.  The morning was a moving tribute to a remarkable woman whose life was ended way too soon. {igallery 377}

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