Opperman was most recently chairman of Key Investment Inc., a private investment company in Minneapolis involved in publishing and run by his son Vance Opperman. Among its holdings are MSP Communications, publisher of Mpls. St.Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business.
Opperman was born in Perry, Iowa. He graduated from Drake University with a law degree in 1951 and moved to the Twin Cities to become an editor at West Publishing Co. He rose to the top of West, which became one of the world’s largest legal publishers, and helped lead the company as it developed Westlaw, an online legal research service the company launched in the mid-1970s.
West, based in Eagan, was sold in 1996 to Toronto-based Thomson Corp. for $3.4 billion. Now Thomson Reuters, the company maintains a major operation in Eagan.
Opperman’s wife, Jeanice, died of lung cancer in 1993. In 2008, he married popular writer Julie Chrystyn. He maintained a home in Dellwood, Minn., but began living in Beverly Hills fulltime last year, colleagues said.
Opperman is survived by his sister Doris Morris of Whittier, Calif. and two sons: Vance and his wife Darin, and Fane and his wife Corie, of Palo Alto, Calif. He is also survived by nine grandchildren: Cassandra O’Hern (Tom), Nathanial Opperman (Beth), Chaney Opperman (Susie), Vanessa Morehouse (David), Hayley Opperman, Grant Opperman, Derrek Opperman, Shana Opperman, Alisa Opperman; and 13 great grandchildren.