Former Mead Data Central leader dies

O’Hara oversaw the unit that became LexisNexis.

Robert M. O’Hara, former president of Mead Advanced Systems Group — which oversaw the unit that became LexisNexis — died Wednesday, Nov. 4. He was 83.

Mr. O’Hara worked his entire career for Mead Corp., starting as a file clerk at Atlanta Paper Co., which Mead purchased in 1957.

In 1967, he was named vice president of sales for Mead Packaging and two years later became president of Mead Packaging. In 1972, Mead moved him to Dayton and promoted him to president of Mead Paper, managing over $700 million in annual sales, said his son, James O’Hara.

In 1974, he was named president of Mead Advanced Systems Group were he managed Mead Data Central, Mead Digital Systems, Mead Office Systems and Mead CompuChem.

It was Mead Data Central that offered the LEXIS and NEXIS database services. In 1994, Anglo-Dutch publisher Reed Elsevier bought Mead Data Central and renamed it LexisNexis, now a global company that today has 3,000 employees on a large campus in Miami Twp.

“I can remember photos in the Dayton Daily News in the 1980s with him standing next to reels and reels of tapes, and saying, ‘Look, James, we can now access this from computers around the world,’ ” the younger O’Hara recalled of his father.

Robert O’Hara was born Sept. 18, 1926, in Philadelphia. At 17, he was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy.

He was active in the Dayton community, serving on many boards and committees including the Dayton Art Institute Associate Board for which he co-chaired the Art Institute’s Oktoberfest with his wife, Barbara Nichols O’Hara.

His son said he could often be found at the Wright Library in Oakwood on Saturday, returning no fewer than 10 books and checking out another 10, which he would read in a week’s time.

“He was surrounded by history books, which he loved,” James O’Hara said.

Mr. O’Hara, who died at Bethany Village in Centerville, also is survived by daughter Ani O’Hara of Seattle, and sons Rick, Mark and Brian O’Hara, all of Georgia.

Funeral services will be at 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Oakwood.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2390 or tgnau

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