In Memoriam: Gerald Kessler

The natural products industry mourns one of its greatest trailblazers with the loss of Gerald Kessler, who has passed away at the age of 80.

In addition to founding supplement companies Nature’s Plus and Natural Organics, Inc., Kessler was one of the architects behind the landmark Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in the early 1990’s.

After graduating from New York University, Kessler embarked on a 14-year career in sales for a pharmaceutical company. It was during this time that Kessler learned about the potential of vitamins and dietary supplements, and he would go on to found Nature’s Plus. Over the course of 40 years, Kessler developed over 1000 new products with the company. The success he enjoyed at Nature’s Plus played into his role in the formation of DSHEA.  With lawmakers targeting his and other supplement companies for advertising practices, Kessler decided to fight so that consumers would be free to make their own choices for their health. He worked alongside industry professionals, politicians and lawyers, along with rallying an unprecedented level of grassroots support for what would eventually become DSHEA, which was passed in October of 1994.

WholeFoods Magazine president Howard Wainer spoke about the loss of Kessler. "Jerry Kessler built Nature's Plus into one of the strongest companies in the supplement business. He also made many contributions to the overall strength of our industry, legally and otherwise. I'm going to miss him very much."

Kessler’s loved ones issued a statement describing him as a “giant of a man in stature, heart and soul,” who dedicated his life to enhancing the wellness of millions of consumers around the world. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at Loper Funeral Chapel in Solvang, California.