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Former West Publishing Company President Dies At 89

Dwight D. Opperman
Drake University

ST. PAUL (AP) — The former president of West Publishing Co., credited with leading the company into the digital age, has died at age 89.

Dwight Opperman died Thursday at his home in Beverly Hill, Calif., according to his son, Vance Opperman.

The elder Opperman became president of West Publishing Co. in 1968, when the company was based in St. Paul, and was instrumental in leading the company into delivering its services electronically and creating Westlaw, a major online legal research service. West Publishing was sold to Thomson Reuters in 1996 for $3.4 billion.

Opperman received a J.D. degree from the Drake University Law School in 1951.  Later in life, he funded a number of major building projects, scholarship endowments and lecture series at the university.

Vance Opperman says a memorial service in St. Paul is planned for mid-August. He says a funeral service will be held in California where his father moved after remarrying in 2008. Opperman’s first wife died in 1993.


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