Hundreds of mourners gathered in Juab County on Friday to celebrate the founder of the Utah-based essential oils company, Young Living. Gary Young died on May 12 following a series of strokes.
It was a funeral fit for the eccentric founder of Young Living. The service took place on the company’s 160-acre lavender farm in Mona inside a small rodeo arena where Young would sometimes hold jousting tournaments dressed in a full suit of armor.
His funeral procession included bagpipe players, draft horses and a company-branded purple wagon carrying Young’s casket.
Young founded his essential oils company in Riverton in the early 90s. He later bought the farm in Mona to grow and distill plants. The multi-level marketing firm has since grown into a global company with several thousand employees and offices in a dozen countries.
Friends and company executives described Young as a pioneer of the modern alternative-health and wellness industry. They also described his penchant for adventures and overseas travel.
Renae Spencer, an 18-year Young Living employee, stood in the bleachers with a plastic poncho and umbrella for the service. She said Young was more than just a boss.
“He opened up a lot things for a lot of people in different ways," she said. "This kind of a job entails more than just farming.”
But Young was controversial, too. In the last year, his company ran afoul of the federal government for illegal oil trafficking. It also lost a multi-year lawsuit against rival distributer doTerra.
Young was 68. He’s survived by two sons and his wife, Mary Young, Young Living's CEO.