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Larry Dupraz, 87; inimitable force at Princeton paper

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Larry Dupraz, a colorful manager who oversaw production for decades at Princeton University's student newspaper, died Dec. 24 at a rehabilitation center in Beverly, Mass. He was 87.

Mr. Dupraz had heart disease, said his daughter, Claudia Greely, of Rockport, Mass.

Starting out as a typesetter at The Daily Princetonian in 1946, Mr. Dupraz took the words of student reporters and forged them in molten lead with an aging linotype machine. Soon after joining the paper, he became a compositor, in charge of getting the paper printed each night, according to an obituary on The Daily Princetonian's website.

Over the decades, Mr. Dupraz was a "beloved flat-topped, cigar-chomping curmudgeon" who insisted on perfection at the paper, reminding the members of each managing board that they were the worst bunch of "dumb, snot-nosed, thick-skulled kids" he had ever seen, according to the obituary.

After the "Prince" switched from hot-lead type to photo offset printing in 1973, Mr. Dupraz remained at the paper as production supervisor. By the time of his retirement in 1987, he had overseen more than 6,200 issues of the paper.

Over the years, Mr. Dupraz became the paper's institutional memory, able to recall in detail the scandals and mistakes of past editors. Even after he retired, he remained an unofficial adviser and critic for newspaper staff.

"Through the ups and downs of the past 60 years, this tough love came to be known as the Larry Dupraz School of Journalism, the closest thing to a professional school for generations of news-hungry young reporters," the newspaper said.

A graduate of Princeton High School who also took classes at the Hun School, Mr. Dupraz lived in Princeton most of his life. He volunteered with Mercer Engine Company No. 3, which elected him fire chief in the early 1970s.

During World War II, he served as a combat intelligence officer with the 100th Bomb Group in England. Since both of his parents were immigrants from France, he spoke fluent French and translated for resistance groups, including the Belgian Underground.

Mr. Dupraz was an honorary member of the Princeton University classes of 1971 and 2000.

In addition to his daughter, Claudia, Mr. Dupraz leaves his wife, Nora, of Princeton, and four grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. today in St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church in Princeton.

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