Tue | Jan 16, 2018

P.J. Patterson | Hawthorne’s legacy will never die

Published:Sunday | December 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Lowell Hawthorne, late president/CEO of Golden Krust Caribbbean Bakery and Grill.

The name of Lowell Hawthorne has been indelibly etched in the hearts and minds of Jamaicans of all walks of life in Jamaica, the United States and the diaspora, as the young man who climbed an amazing ladder of success and conquered every business challenge he faced.

There is no one who knew Lowell Hawthorne that was not shocked by the news of his death on the first Saturday of December. Nothing in his entire life had prepared us for this devastating loss.

Lowell Hawthorne achieved almost all there is to accomplish in business. He created his own niche, not only in the Jamaican diaspora where he was well respected and loved, but also in the international community, where he had also made a distinctive mark.

Everything he touched turned 'Golden'. His prowess, his ability to build a corporate giant from the ground up, and keep it growing and expanding is evident by the enviable empire he built. The Golden Krust brand is now world renowned and has placed another great stamp of Jamaica's presence in the culinary field.

Having thrown his passion into the business he established with his five siblings, honouring their parents with outstanding success, providing jobs for thousands of persons in North America, Lowell was poised to take the Golden Krust brand into Africa, before his untimely death. His ambition and sense of purpose knew no bounds.

Lowell anchored his life on his faith in God, focused on family, and devoted his energy to building the American dream while simultaneously helping to create a pathway for others to follow. Constantly giving back to the community and providing educational opportunities through the Golden Krust scholarship programme named after his late parents, Lowell has brought hope and opportunity to thousands of young people in the United States and his native Jamaica.

His business model contributed to employment in Jamaica through importation of a wide range of Jamaican products from a variety of producers, thus providing needed employment. His exemplary and astute leadership gave real meaning to the Golden Krust motto, 'People before profit'.

Lowell Hawthorne was a family man - a devoted husband, a mentor and wonderful father to his children. He had a profound impact on everyone he met. He commanded respect from his family, his workers, his peers. He was a man of integrity who surrounded himself with good people, and they, in turn, loved him unconditionally.

He found time despite his many commitments to inspire the younger generation by writing a book about his life in business.

His philanthropy, especially in the areas of education, was well known and highly appreciated. At the time of his passing, he was president of the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies. His entrepreneurial prowess was also recognised by his various awards, which included two honorary doctorates from Medgar Evers College and the University of the West Indies, as well as awards from the Jamaica Observer and Ernst & Young. He received a national honour, the Order of Distinction, Commander Class (CD) from the Government of Jamaica for his contribution to building business and charitable links with his homeland and its diaspora.

With all his success, he remained quintessentially Jamaican, promoting our food and culture across the world and never forgetting his roots. His work in communities 'back a yard' was second to none, as he supported many charities and organisations that opened the doors of educational opportunity and provided scholarships to the University of the West Indies to scores of deserving students. He was a passionate believer in building human capital who never knew how to say no for any deserving cause.

Lowell's untimely passing has elicited an unprecedented outpouring of sadness and love. I am confident that the strong family leadership he has nurtured will sustain his work and expand his vision in the growth of the extraordinary Golden Krust brand.

I extend to his wife, Lorna, his children, family and friends my heartfelt sympathy. Indeed, take comfort in the knowledge that Lowell will be in the loving care of the God whom he so faithfully served. We pray for that divine guidance that will fortify all those who mourn.

The 'Baker's Son' has run well his earthly journey. His legacy will never die.

- P.J. Patterson is a former prime minister of Jamaica.

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