Rechelbacher, Horst M. Nov. 11, 1941 - Feb. 15, 2014 Legendary entrepreneur and environmental activist Horst M. Rechelbacher passed away in peace at his home in Osceola, Wisconsin on Saturday, February 15, 2014. He was surrounded by his family, friends, forest and beloved dogs. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer. He was 72 years old. The global pioneer in plant-based personal care, Horst M. Rechelbacher forever changed the world of beauty in many fundamental ways. As the founder of both Aveda Corporation and Intelligent Nutrients, he was amongst the first to seek fair-trade sourcing, non-toxic ingredients, organic certification, plant-based aromatherapy, and food-grade formulations in health and beauty products. Many of his ideas and innovations from decades ago are just now reaching the mainstream. Horst pursued several lifetimes of roles with his trademark passion. He was an artist, philanthropist, provocateur, aromatherapist, author, speaker, seeker and hairdresser whose heart never left the beauty industry. In recent years, he added organic farmer to the list at his Osceola estate. Believing "plants are the greatest chemists," the farm let him study, test and develop new methods for plant-based products. Born in Klagenfurt, Austria, Horst began a salon apprenticeship at age 14. His intuitive talent and charisma catapulted him to the top of the swinging sixties international hair competition circuit. A cinema-worthy life followed, including the car crash that landed him in Minneapolis. By 1965, he started Horst & Friends salons and in 1978 founded Aveda, an eponymous product line. A man of his time and ahead of it, his search into the world of greater traditional wisdom and plant study began in the mid-60s. He often credited his mother, an herbalist, for this lifelong interest. His never-ending study of plant-based medicine and health took him from India ashrams to primitive tribes to partnerships with the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, the Children's Hospital of MN and the Mayo Clinic. He collaborated with noted physicians, chemists and pharmacologists, as well rock stars, traditional healers and shaman worldwide. In 1978, Horst founded Aveda and ushered a new consciousness into the world of beauty. Headquartered in Minneapolis, company grew quickly and gained immediate mystique for its creative culture, signature aromas and innovative products, from non-toxic housecleaning to nutritional supplements. His legacy includes the Aveda Concept Salons and the Aveda Institute, where thousands of top salon professionals were educated. Many students and employees went on to their own legendary careers and entrepreneurial pursuits. Horst sold Aveda to Estee Lauder in 1997 in a sale that was then the largest of its kind. He soon shifted focus to Intelligent Nutrients, his Minneapolis-based health and beauty company. There he avidly pursued an entirely new standard of health and safety, innovating certified organic beauty products and bringing plant stem cells to the fore-both alternatives to synthetic ingredients and traditional agriculture. Horst is survived by his wife and long-time partner Kiran Stordalen, his daughter Nicole and husband Peter Thomas, his son Peter and wife Mindy Rechelbacher, and his five grandchildren Emma, Richard, Evan, Ruby and Jada. Rechelbacher was recognized as one of the most notable Austrians living in America by the Austrian press, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Wolfgang Puck. Vanity Fair magazine honored him as one of the most influential environmentalists in the U.S. in 1995 and again in 2005. He is one of the three original founders of Business for Social Responsibility, which focused its mission on business and the sustainability of all living species. In 2004, he became a founding member of the Organic Center, a non-profit dedicated to organic education, research and promotion. NAHA (North American Hairdressers Association) honored him with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2007, the International Congress of Esthetics and Spa presented Horst with the Crystal Award. Rechelbacher also received the Rachel Carson Award for a Lifetime Commitment to Environmental Ethics & Integrity. Also in 2007, the Spa & Salon Professional Association honored him as an Industry Innovator and Legend for his lifetime contribution to the cosmetology industry. The Twin Cities Business Magazine inducted Horst into their 2008 Minnesota Business Hall of Fame, acknowledging his contributions and recognizing him as one of the states' most accomplished business leaders of all time. In 2009, the President of Austria awarded Horst the "Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria." Horst signed all his correspondence "Yours in service for a green, healthy and non-violent planet" and he left this planet with the same mission to the very last. He leaves stories and myths in every corner of the planet and there will never be another like him.Memorials can be sent to the HMR Foundation via memorial@hmr-foundation.org

Published on February 23, 2014


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