Legendary 'Prince' adviser Dupraz dies at 87
Larry Dupraz, the beloved flat-topped, cigar-chomping curmudgeon whose critical eye refined six decades of journalism at The Daily Princetonian, died the morning of Christmas Eve. He was 87.
Dupraz, who had suffered from heart disease, joined the 'Prince' in 1946 as a typesetter, forging the words of student reporters in molten lead with an aging linotype machine. He soon became compositor, assuming responsibility for getting the paper printed each night.
He insisted on perfection, constantly reminding members of each managing board that they were the worst group of "dumb, snot-nosed, thick-skulled kids" he had ever seen.
When the 'Prince' switched from hot-lead type to photo offset printing in 1973, Dupraz stayed on as production supervisor. When he retired in 1987, he had overseen more than 6,200 issues of the paper.
Dupraz, an honorary member of the Classes of 1971 and 2000, embodied the institutional memory of the 'Prince,' recalling in precise detail the scandals and foibles of past editors. After retiring, he continued to serve as an unofficial, brutally honest adviser to the 'Prince' staff for two more decades, until just weeks before he passed away.
In recent years, Dupraz would enter the newsroom, walk up to the nearest editor and exclaim, "What is this crap?" before launching into a litany of specific grievances.
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.
Born in Princeton on Dec. 17, 1919, Dupraz graduated from Princeton High School, took classes at the Hun School and lived in town for most of his life. His parents, who emigrated from France, founded the restaurant on Witherspoon Street now known as Lahiere's.
During World War II, Dupraz joined the 100th Bomb Group in England as a combat intelligence officer. Since his parents were French, he spoke the language fluently and worked as a translator for resistance groups, including the Belgian Underground.
Dupraz found a job with the 'Prince' once the paper returned from a wartime printing hiatus. He also volunteered as a firefighter with Mercer Engine Company Number 3, which elected him fire chief in 1973.
When he retired from his job at the paper, Dupraz told a writer that he was thrilled to be able to spend more time with his family. He said he might realize his goal of returning to France on vacation.
"But you know what my dream is," Larry said. "I want to see the 21st century."
He is survived by his wife Nora, daughter Claudia Greely, son-in-law John Greely and four grandchildren. The viewing is set for the afternoon of Dec. 28 at Kimble Funeral Home in Princeton. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 29 at St. Paul's Church, also in Princeton.
More to come ...
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