Earl Holding dies, leaves legacy of Sinclair Oil

Earl Holding dies: The US billionaire had a net worth of $3.2 billion. Earl Holding owned Sinclair Oil, and the Sun Valley Resort in Idaho and the Snowbasin Resort in Utah.

Earl Holding died Friday. The billionaire's holdings included ownership of Sinclair Oil and two US ski resorts.

Billionaire Robert Earl Holding, whose business empire included ownership of Sinclair Oil and two world-class ski resorts in the U.S. West, has died. He was 86.

Holding died Friday in Utah, said Clint Ensign, senior vice president of the Sinclair Companies. Holding actively oversaw his businesses until he slowed down a couple of years ago, Ensign said.

Holding's estimated net worth of $3.2 billion made him the 423rd wealthiest person in the world at the time of his death, according to Forbes.

Not bad for a man who did not invest in stocks after his parents lost everything in the 1929 stock market crash when he was just 3.

"He was a lion of a man," Ensign told The Associated Press. "He was the All-American success story, someone who came from humble beginnings and through hard work and good management created some wonderful businesses. He truly was one of the great entrepreneurs of the West."

Holding's boldest moves came when he acquired a Mobil refinery in Wyoming in 1968 and Sinclair Oil in 1976.

Holding later purchased the Sun Valley Resort in Idaho and Snowbasin Resort in Utah.

"I think his timing (for acquisitions) was very good," Ensign said. "He saw value when others didn't. He had wonderful vision ... and a very hands-on management style."

Holding also was a member of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee board that lured the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City. But his career was not without controversy as he was bounced from the organizing committee board in the wake of the Olympic bribery scandal of the 1990s.

He drew attention after his private jets were used to fly some International Olympic Committee members who took excessive gifts from Salt Lake's bid committee before the games were awarded in 1995.

Survivors include Holding's wife of 64 years, Carol, and three children. Funeral arrangements were pending.


AP writer Keith Ridler in Boise, Idaho, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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