Entertainment

Clarke remembers Hawthorne as 'Irie'

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

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LAST Saturday, Jamaica lost one of its true success stories. Lowell Hawthorne, principal of the Golden Krust chain of restaurants, committed suicide at that establishment's factory in the Bronx, New York.

Touted as the embodiment of the Jamaican-American Dream in high-profile publications such as Forbes Magazine, he was 57 years old.

Hawthorne had countless admirers, one of them being fellow Jamaican Bobby Clarke, CEO of Irie Jam Radio which is located in Queens, New York.

“I have known Lowell Hawthorne for the past 24 years. He was a dear friend, a colleague, a mentor and role model for me and the entire Irie Jam Media family. He started advertising here on our platform from day one and has never been off the air,” Clarke told the Jamaica Observer. “He has been a devoted supporter of our New York tri-state (also includes New Jersey and Connecticut) media and entertainment company, as there is no event that he was not a sponsor of or an attendee.”

Clarke said he last saw Hawthorne on November 10 at Hawthorne's annual Mavis & Ephraim Hawthorne Excellence Awards Gala in New Rochelle, New York. The Hawthorne family bestowed upon Clarke with their Visionary Award.

“Lowell was always in great spirits and always had a kind word to share and sound business advice. This has been a major blow not only to me, but to the entire community and anyone who knew Lowell. We will miss him dearly and continue to honour his legacy,” Clarke stated.

Originally from rural St Andrew, Hawthorne migrated to the United States in the early 1980s, settling in New York City where he worked in the police force. In 1989, he and his brother and sisters opened the first Golden Krust restaurant in the Bronx; they launched 17 others in the next four years.

At the time of his death, Hawthorne had seen his family enterprise expand to 120 outlets in nine states. The patty, their staple product, was served in the New York public school system and prisons as well as major chains like Publix supermarket in Florida, and Costco.

In a 2015 interview with Westchester Magazine, Hawthorne spoke of his love for Jamaican culture and how he worked as a DJ prior to starting Golden Krust.

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