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Former Reader’s Digest Publisher Charles Hepler Dies

May 25, 1993

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) _ Charles D. Hepler, a former publisher of Reader’s Digest, died at his Santa Fe home Monday after a long battle with cancer.

Hepler, who didn’t want his precise age known, was in his mid-70s, said Jon Bowman, editor of New Mexico magazine. Hepler also had been publisher of the state-owned magazine.

Hepler had spent 27 years at Reader’s Digest, including 16 as publisher, a job he assumed in 1968. Before that Hepler was associate publisher of U.S. News and World Report and worked for various newspapers.

When he became publisher of Reader’s Digest, that magazine had annual revenues of $400 million and a circulation of 12 million. When he retired in 1984 it was a $1.3 billion enterprise with 29 million subscribers - 19 million in the United States and 10 million abroad. Hepler launched 22 of that magazine’s 28 overseas editions.

At New Mexico magazine, circulation increased from 95,000 to 130,000 during Hepler’s tenure from July 1989 through January 1993. He served as publisher for a nominal $7,000 a year as his contribution to his adopted state.

Born and raised in Royal Oak, Mich., Hepler attended Louisiana State University and Indiana University and received master’s and doctoral degrees at Butler University in Indianapolis.

He served as a combat pilot in World War II, flying 47 missions and receiving five medals.

Hepler is survived by his wife, a son and two stepchildren.

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