SALT LAKE CITY — A billionaire businessman who helped bring the Winter Olympic Games to Salt Lake City died Friday.
Robert Earl Holding has been described as a man of vision, optimism and accomplishment. He acquired the Mobil refinery in Casper, Wyoming in 1968, followed by the purchase of Sinclair Oil in 1976.
In the 1990s, Holding joined the effort to bring the Winter Olympic Games to Salt Lake City by making Snowbasin a world class venue able to host downhill speed events and by building the Grand America Hotel.
“Jeanette and I offer our heartfelt condolences to the family of Earl Holding, a Utah icon of initiative, industry and hospitality. May they find peace and comfort at this difficult time, as well as reassurance that Earl’s profound contributions to the greater community will endure,” Governor Gary Herbert said in a statement issued Saturday.
Holding is survived by his wife Carol and three children. He was 86.
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch released a statement on Saturday. It reads:
“Earl Holding was a tremendous business and community leader; and a cherished friend.
The companies and facilities he shepherded throughout his lifetime are a lasting testament to the strength, determination, and hard work of this great man. Not only did Earl contribute greatly to Utah’s business climate – he also cared deeply about our community and was willing to roll up his sleeves and help get the job done.
Elaine and I send our deepest sympathies to Earl’s wife Carol, and his family and friends. He will be deeply missed by many, and the impact he has had on our state and community will be felt for generations to come.”