Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, owner of the Minnesota-based spirituality publisher Llwellyn Worldwide for more than half a century and currently holding the title of chairman, died on Saturday. He was 85.

Llewellyn Worldwide is among the oldest and largest publishers of New Age, metaphysical, self-help, and spirituality books in the world. It was founded as Llewellyn Publishing in Portland, Ore. in 1901, and moved from the West Coast to St. Paul when Weschcke purchased the company in 1961. Today, the company employs 68 people and publishes roughly 180 titles a year.

Authors and booksellers who knew Weschcke referred to him as "the Father of New Age" because of his early and public sponsorship of everything ranging from paganism to tantra and yoga. Weschcke and Llewellyn contributed to the New Age movement that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s by sponsoring Gnosticon festivals--which were focused on magic and Neo-Paganism--in the Twin Cities.

Llewellyn publisher Bill Krause called Weschcke "extraordinary." He went on to say Weschcke was someone who "was constantly reading and learning--about everything. In 10 years of working with him, there was never a conversation with Carl that didn’t leave you thinking about something greater and how to improve our books and our business."

Besides heading Llewellyn, Weschcke wrote Dream ESP: The Secret of "Prophetic Causal Dreaming" to Bring About Desired Change Derived from the Taoist I CHING, which is being published by Llewellyn in December. He also co-authored 12 books on spirituality, hypnosis, psychic empowerment, and other metaphysical subjects.

Weschcke is survived by his wife Sandra and son Gabe (Michele) and three grandchildren. Sandra is president and treasurer of Llewellyn Worldwide and Gabe serves as v-p.

Arrangements for a memorial service are pending.

Update: The memorial will be held on November 18, at O'Halloran & Murphy Funeral & Cremation Services, 700 Valley Creek Road, Woodbury, Minn. Visitation will be from 2:00-5:00 pm, with a memorial presentation beginning at 5:00 pm.