Lorry Lokey, Atherton philanthropist and Business Wire founder, dies

Lorry Lokey. Photo from the Business Wire.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Lorry I. Lokey, an Atherton billionaire who founded the Business Wire and donated generously to universities, has died at age 95.

Lokey, who died on Saturday, was born on March 27, 1927, in Portland, Ore. where he grew up. He entered Stanford in 1944 and was drafted at the end of his freshman year, being deployed to Japan just as World War II was ending. In the Army, Lokey was features editor for Stars and Stripes, the military’s newspaper.

Lokey returned to Stanford in 1947, where he joined the Stanford Daily, and spent most of his time working on the paper.

“It showed in my grades,” he told Stanford News service in 1995. He became editor of the Stanford Daily in 1949.

After graduating with a bachelor’s in journalism, Lokey worked for the United Press, which would become UPI, and the Longview Daily News in Washington.

In 1952, he moved back to the Bay Area to San Francisco, where he worked for the Western Highway Institute, was a public relations representative for Shell Development Co., the research arm of Shell Oil, and a news bureau supervisor for General Electric.

In 1961, Lokey started the Business Wire to help companies that wanted to quickly and widely distribute their mandatory quarterly and annual financial reports. The Business Wire started with 16 print and broadcast clients from San Rafael to San Jose and seven corporate customers, according to the Stanford News Service.

Today, Business Wire is known worldwide for its distribution of business-related press releases and reports.
In 2006, Lokey sold the Business Wire to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

Former employee Tom Beckhold posted on Facebook that Lokey was known for championing women in the workplace, hiring many women to executive positions such as chief financial officer, chief operating officer and company president. Lokey also offered daycare in the early 1990s “way before it was common,” Beckhold recollected.

Aside from starting the Business Wire, Lokey was known for donating generously to education.
Lokey had donated more than $800 million to universities and high schools, Jewish Business News reported in May 2018. His name can be found on buildings at Stanford, Mills College, Santa Clara University, University of Oregon, Portland State University, Bellarmine College Prep and the University of Haifa in Israel.
Lokey was married to Eva Chernov until their divorce in 1990, they had three daughters together.


  1. Lorry Lokey was also a generous benefactor of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel and the Technion Israel Institute of Technology (often referred to as the MIT of the Middle East).
    May his memory be a blessing.

    • Lorry Lokey was also a beloved friend and benefactor of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). The University’s Lorry I. Lokey Chemistry Building is a meaningful legacy that will impact Israel – and the world – for generations to come. He will be deeply missed.

  2. Lorry was a great friend to my mother Paula Nusser Boggess. Stanford’49. They worked together on the Stanford Daily. I was able to meet him at Santa Clara University where he shared some great memories of their time at Stanford. A life well lived.

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