Thousands pay tribute to Lowell Hawthorne
A multitude of Jamaicans spanning all walks of life turned out in the thousands yesterday to bid farewell to the late founder and CEO of Golden Krust, Lowell Hawthorne.
A packed Christian Cultural Center on Flatlands Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, provided the venue for the homegoing service for Hawthorne, and those in attendance heard many glowing tributes to the man and his work.
Pastor of the Christian Cultural Center, the Reverend Dr A.R. Bernard, in his sermon, spoke of the hidden dangers of mental illness and depression and suggested that churches lead the charge in addressing these conditions.
Bernard noted that Hawthorne began attending the church recently and he spoke with him two weeks before his death, but the conversation was about the business and the plans he had for expansion.
Bernard said that in his conversation with Hawthorne, he did not discuss what was troubling him but pointed out that the community should see Hawthorne's death as a final message to them.
He urged the community to understand that success does not represent everything.
The more than four-hour service, which began shortly after 9 a.m. and ran through the early afternoon hours, also heard from the pastor of the Bronx Bethany Church, the Reverend Sam Vassell.
Vassell spoke on his relationship with Hawthorne and the many lives that he touched. He recalled that Hawthorne's life was spent helping others whom he continued to keep close to him.
Suzette Clarke, Hawthorne's niece, read the remembrance during which she spoke of the positive influence that he had on her life.
Prime Minister Andrew Holeness sent a message to the service, which was read by Jamaica's consul general to New York, Trudy Deans.
Deans also delivered her own message at the service.
Una Clarke, former NYC City council member, read a congressional proclamation from Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.
Yesterday's outpouring of celebration began Monday night to the wake for Hawthorne, which was held at the Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, New York.
The huge church was packed to overflowing, with many unable to get inside to view the body or participate in the service.
Many who congregated outside the church spoke of the man they knew, recalling his life and the good he did.
Overheard were some attendees who pointed out that while they did not know him personally, they had come to pay their respect for the many opportunities that he provided to people within the community.
Burial took place in Valhalla, Westchester.