The passing of Earl Holding is a sad day for Wyoming. He and his wife, Carol, have lived the story of the American dream. Their accomplishments growing up during the Depression, excelling in business, and giving back to the state and the country epitomize that story. Earl was not only an icon in business, he was an extraordinary philanthropist. His is a great American success story, because, for him, the two—business achievement and giving back—were inseparable.
Robert Earl Holding (November 29, 1926 – April 19, 2013) was an American businessman who owned Sinclair Oil Corporation, the Grand America Hotels & Resorts, the Grand America Hotel, the Westgate Hotel in San Diego, California (directed by Georg Hochfilzer), and two ski resorts, Sun Valley in central Idaho since 1977, and Snowbasin near Ogden, Utah, since 1984.
With an estimated net worth of around $3.2 billion at the time of his death, he was ranked on Forbes's Forbes 400 list as the 155th-richest person in America.
In 1952, Holding began work on the first Little America west of Rock Springs, Wyoming. In 1965, Holding and his wife, the former Carol Orme, started the Little America in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and completed construction a year later. For a time they resided in a house on the grounds of this Little America. His son, Stephen, also lived there when he managed the travel plaza. In 2008, the Holdings added a large convention and conference center at Little America.
After suffering a severe stroke in 2002, Holding was partially paralyzed, but made sufficient recovery and to continue the management of his organization until his death in the spring of 2013.