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David Copley Leaves Behind Multi-Generational Legacy, Wealth, Land

Former Union-Tribune publisher and socialite David Copley was once listed among country's 400 richest Americans. He died this week.

— The late David Copley leaves behind not only a media and philanthropic legacy, but also great wealth accumulated over many generations. Copley, former Union-Tribune publisher, died this week after a heart attack and car crash. He never married or had children.

Photo credit: Getty Images

David Copley, former owner and publisher of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

In 2005, Forbes magazine listed David Copley as number 283 on a list of the country’s 400 richest people. At the time the magazine estimated Copley’s worth to be $1.2 billion.

County records show at least 12 properties, most in La Jolla , are owned by the Copley trust or Copley companies. They include 25 prime acres of undeveloped land overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The land was assessed at more than $22 million back in 2004. Copley Press – the corporation which holds title of the property – did try to sell the land a few years ago.

Copley, like most wealthy people, had a trust, which means the details of much of his wealth or who he left his money to, may never be made public. David and his late mother Helen Copley were both known for their philanthropy – giving many millions of dollars to the arts, education, and other organizations. Helen Copley died in 2004 at age 81.

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