The former CEO of West Publishing, which was later sold to Thomson Reuters, has died. Dwight Opperman was famous for helping launch Westlaw, a legal database used by lawyers, judges and others across the country.
Opperman died this week in California. He was 89 years old.
His son, Vance Opperman, says business colleagues have been recalling how his father's hobby was his work. The company has more than 7,000 employees at its office in Eagan.
"I think that's absolutely true. The other thing he devoted time to, of course, was his family. And I think that epitomized him and I think frankly those are great American virtues and great Minnesota virtues," he said. "He epitomized both of them. Absolutely."
Vance Opperman also says his father made a lasting impression on the legal publishing business.
"That's his most enduring legacy: The commitment to the practice of law and the legal and judicial professions, and making this, the Twin Cities, one of the world centers for content delivery and electronic research," he said.
West Publishing Company started in 1872 in St. Paul. Dwight Opperman had also been chairman of Key Investment, a firm that owns Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business.
A Minnesota memorial service for Opperman is being planned for August.
West Publishing was sold to the company now known as Thomson Reuters in 1996.
Vance Opperman says condolences have poured in from across the country. John Roberts, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, released a statement saying the court was deeply saddened by news of Dwight Opperman's death.