Burt Shavitz

  • Died: July 5, 2015
  • Location: Bangor, Maine

Tribute


Burt Shavitz

Burt Shavitz, the Burt behind Burt's Bees, dies at 80

The Burt of Burt's Bees and the iconic face of the honey-based natural cosmetics company, Burt Shavitz will be remembered for his individualistic lifestyle and nature-centered values.

By DAVID SHARP, The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The reclusive beekeeper who co-founded Burt's Bees, and whose face and wild beard appeared on labels for the natural cosmetics, died on Sunday. Burt Shavitz was 80.

A spokeswoman for Burt's Bees said in an emailed statement Shavtiz died of respiratory complications in Bangor, Maine, surrounded by family and friends.

Shavitz was a hippie making a living by selling honey when his life was altered by a chance encounter with a hitchhiking Roxanne Quimby. She was a single mother and a back-to-the-lander who impressed Shavitz with her ingenuity and self-sufficiency.

In the 1980s she began making products from his beeswax, and they became partners.

The business partnership ended after Quimby moved the company to North Carolina in 1994. The company continued to expand, but Shavitz moved back to Maine. He has said he was forced out after having an affair with an employee. In 2007, Clorox purchased Burt's Bees for $925 million.

"Burt was an enigma; my mentor and my muse. I am deeply saddened," Quimby told The Associated Press in an email.

Shavitz received an undisclosed settlement — and 37 acres in remote corner of Maine. He also continued to make appearances on behalf of the company.

"What I have in this situation is no regret," he said last year while sitting in a rocking chair in his home in Parkman. "The bottom line is she's got her world and I've got mine, and we let it go at that."

Though he is known for being a character from the backwoods of Maine, Shavitz grew up around New York, served in the Army in Germany and shot photos for Time-Life before leaving the city.

He tried leaving Maine once before, spending a winter on a warm island, but was drawn back to the state. He was also the subject of a documentary, "Burt's Buzz."

"Burt was a complex man who sought a simple life in pace with the seasons of nature on his land," the company said in a statement. "If there is one thing we will remember from Burt's life, in our fast-paced, high-tech culture, it's to never lose sight of our relationship with nature."

In recent years, Shavitz lived in a cluttered house with no running water. A converted turkey coop that used to be his home remained on his property. He liked passing the time by watching wildlife.


Condolence & Memory Journal

You will always be remembered for contribution to the world. Rest in peace

Posted by Sharon Haywood - Humble, TX   July 04, 2018

Candle

Posted by Sadie B.    March 03, 2016

thank you for all you have done for this world what your amazing products rest in peace

Posted by Sharon Haywood - Humble, TX - customer of his products   July 10, 2015

Candle

What an amazing guy he was. Love his product.

Posted by Traci anderson - Jamestown, NY   July 06, 2015

Bert you did it your way....A toast to a real person

Posted by Lou Profenno - Portland, ME - None   July 06, 2015


Family Album

Burt Shavitz