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Why Did CEO and founder of Golden Krust Lowell Hawthorne Commit Suicide?

CARIBBEAN FEVER EXCLUSIVE: Friends Of Golden Krust CEO, Lowell Hawthorne, Speak On His Life, Career And Alleged Suicide

The question on everyone's lips across the Jamaican diaspora is why Lowell Hawthorne, CEO and founder of the hugely successful Golden Krust chain with 120 retail outlets across the United States, would commit suicide.

Police reports and accounts from those close to the family say Hawthorne shot himself in the head last Saturday evening at the Golden Krust head offices at 3958 Park Avenue in the Bronx, New York.

Since then, all three leading New York City newspapers have lavished the story with attention. The New York Times reported the tragedy without attributing a reason. The New York Daily News reported that the Golden Krust CEO was plagued with tax debt before the suicide, saying he owed US$15,000 in state taxes, and US$150,000 in city taxes. And, New York Post tabloid emblazoned a headline, screaming that Hawthorne killed himself amid fears the Feds were investigating him for evading millions of dollars in taxes.

But among Jamaican residents in New York and those who knew Hawthorne well, the swirling media suppositions found little traction, and many of his friends, in fact, rubbished those reasons, especially those from the Post.

"A lie dem a tell. Absolutely crazy talk. Nutten nuh go so," said one close colleague of Hawthorne, who did not wish to be identified.

 

Success Story

 

Louis Grant, an executive of Irie Jam Radio and a close friend, franchise owner and tennis buddy of Hawthorne's for decades, gave no credence to the rumours. He was on his way to the Hawthorne's home to huddle with family members yesterday evening, and he painted a picture of Hawthorne as a happy family man, a man of great faith and one who was thrilled with all the exciting things that were happening in his dream life.

"With all his accomplishments, Mr Hawthorne was the quintessential success story from Jamaica and the Caribbean," Grant told The Gleaner. "He had done the remarkable with establishing more than 120 stores. He was getting ready to take on Canada as a new frontier, a new plant in Spring Valley, New York, was being prepared, and most of all, he was super-excited about the birth of his first grandchild, who was just born a few weeks ago, and he raved about stopping by the house almost daily to see the kid," Grant added.

'I choose to celebrate Hawthorne's achievements'

Louis Grant, an executive of Irie Jam Radio and a close friend, franchise owner and tennis buddy of Lowell Hawthorne, pointed out that Hawthorne was passionate about education, and he provided numerous scholarships for students in the United States, in Jamaica and for his alma mater in Jamaica, Oberlin High School. Hawthorne was also chairman of the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies.

Irwine Clare, managing director of Caribbean Immigrant Services also rubbished the media claims.

"What is most disconcerting to me in Hawthorne's demise are the numerous commentary being waged not only on social media but in some cases, by news organisations on tax issues. I choose at this time to celebrate Hawthorne's spectacular achievements and I want to allow the family to mourn their loss respectfully," he told The Gleaner.

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Founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery food chain, commits suicide inside his own factory Dahved Levy speaks with friends and business associates of Golden Krust's CEO Lowell Hawthorne about his alleged suicide. Bobby Clark and Louie Grant both worked closely with Hawthorne. They talk about his life, successful career and his shocking death. Check out the interview below:

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Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery founder & CEO Lowell Hawthorne, 57, commits suicide in Bronx factory

  • Lowell Hawthorne, 57, emigrated to the United States from Jamaica
  • He opened his first Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill in 1989 in New York
  • The fast-food operation now has more than 100 locations across the US
  • Hawthorne died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Saturday, police say 

The New York-based founder and CEO of a Caribbean fast food chain has taken his own life, police say.

Lowell Hawthorne, 57, allegedly shot himself inside the Morrisania, The Bronx factory of his Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill on Saturday night, the NY Daily News reported.

Former employees of his told the Daily News that he was 'humble and 'good' and were 'shocked' at hearing he had likely committed suicide.

Lowell Hawthorne, 57, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in The Bronx on Saturday, police say

Lowell Hawthorne, 57, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in The Bronx on Saturday, police say

Hawthorne died inside the Morrisania, The Bronx factory of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill, of which he served as founder and CEO

Hawthorne died inside the Morrisania, The Bronx factory of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill, of which he served as founder and CEO

Employees said they saw his car - a Tesla 85D - parked between two lanes. 

Hawthorne emigrated to the United States from Jamaica and opened his first Golden Krust operation in 1989.

He and his family pooled money to open the modest store. 

The operation sold Jamaican beef patties and it gradually evolved into a small fast-food empire.

Hawthorne started Golden Krust in 1989 and today there are more than 100 locations across the United States

Hawthorne started Golden Krust in 1989 and today there are more than 100 locations across the United States

There are now more than 100 Golden Krust establishments across the United States selling patties and other foodstuffs such as jerk chicken and plantains.

Golden Krust also produces tens of millions frozen patties to be sold in retail. 

It is not clear who will take over the operation of Golden Krust.  

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Lowell Hawthorne, who started the Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery with a Bronx storefront, had since moved production of his meat patties to a Bronx facility.

The founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill killed himself inside his Bronx factory Saturday, police sources said.

Lowell Hawthorne, 57, shot himself inside the Park Ave. building near E. 173rd St. in Claremont about 5:30 p.m., sources said.

More than a dozen current and former employees stood in disbelief outside the factory hours later. Some had tears rolling down their cheeks.

“He was a good boss, humble and a good businessman,” said Pete Tee, 27, a former employee.

“He never seemed sad. This is just terrible news right now.”


Workers stand outside the Golden Krust's factory on Park Avenue after Hawthorne committed suicide inside.

Hawthorne opened the first Golden Krust store on E. Gun Hill Rd. in 1989.

He built the Jamaica beef patty purveyor into a national empire boasting more than 120 restaurants across the U.S.

It also produces more than 50 million patties a year for retail stores and supplies them to about 20,000 outlets, according to The New York Times.

“We believe in the power of the patty,” Hawthorne told The Times in May.

Some of Hawthorne's employees said they suspected something was amiss when they spotted his silver Tesla 85D parked oddly outside the factory. It was left straddling two lanes.

Everald Woods said he loved working under Hawthorne.

“He was a nice boss, a wonderful guy,” said Woods, an employee since 2003. “He’s the kind of guy you want to work for that long. He takes care of his employees.”

Woods said he was stunned to learn that Hawthorne had taken his life.

“I didn’t believe the news when I heard it at first,” Woods added. “I don’t know if the pressure of running the business was too much, but I’m shocked.” 

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Comment by mr1stroke on December 7, 2017 at 1:42am
You people have to realize i walk my own labe stand my own ground, i comment the way i comment, i dont even address you people whether i agree or disagree, so why make me that important when i dont meed the extra attention especially from folks like you, mone of you are genuine many of you are full of hate and i prove it plenty of times, just because you niggers dont like my stence you want to come at me, you have a coconut dude who has a profile kissing a gun, come,at me threaten me all of you saw those comments none of you say nothing to him, thats why i see you coconuts are full of hate because of that one blog alone i wi murder any one of you and get away with it anyone of you took criminal, or undestand the justice syatem, do you know you can put a judge, a prosecutor and a jury back against the wall when you build a case i thought you people went to fancy university and have all the degrees, what happened, niggers are always going to be miggers and i always address niggers as niggerd
Comment by mr1stroke on December 7, 2017 at 1:36am
Jerome S and thats why i dont respect nighers you keep on saying i post and waht exactly that i post? As for angry i just dislike those who feels they can try to bully others just because they dont want to join or fit in at the end of the day you are not that intelligent or smart just like the rest of them i already said im mot concern about you, show me one blog i commented on your comment, not one its because i dont care about those who feels they better than others, so whats your point, what exactly are you trying to achieve here, it could be much better to ignore my comments, because are 2 different people, yoh are concern about me and i dont care about your existence so come come on now be wise like you say you are
Comment by Jerome S on December 6, 2017 at 11:48pm

Smoochez-to-you; love your profile name, thanks fo rc posting it; perhaps. 

Comment by Jerome S on December 6, 2017 at 11:46pm

I'm not on "anywhere" bragging. I challenge that accusation separately. In this country,  people have fought, died and still kept up the fight for the right to do say and enjoy lots of things like liberty, persecution - free worship...seeking education.  Be advised,  a good number of those people were referred to in the same nasty, heinous way that you used. Your acts were perped by people in positions of authority,  and leadership while yours is not. Your sound is angry, and that could incite negative things. Many negative things,  you wanna be an author of many negative things? 

Comment by conscious1 on December 6, 2017 at 10:09pm

Wow, wow, wow.  It is extremely evident that CF has a major undercover, down low, mofo WHIGGER in it's midst.  Play close attention folks and don't get caught up.

Comment by mr1stroke on December 6, 2017 at 5:46pm
Lol we can all get lost as soon as you pack your bag and go back to the slump thank God for Trump the banned law is in effect now in 2020 i will join the black coalition for trump and vote for him again the more idiots he keeps out the country the more America will be great again at least i aint complaining about trump, my business is up by 28% and tbe holiday seasons is looking like the north pole so let me ask how are you niggers doing this seasons and whats in the plan for you for 2018 because i cant wait for that new tax reform its ok i dont know what 75k is i could not survive on salary like that my lifestyle is too glamorous, if niggers in NY are crying already wait until 2018 that old fool schumer cant do s*** for yall
Comment by CARIBBEAN QUEEN on December 6, 2017 at 4:49pm

YES JUST US CARIBBEAN PEOPLE OTHER PEOPLE THAT DONT KNOW HOW WE ARE GET LOST.

Comment by Ingrid Mayers on December 6, 2017 at 1:34pm

This is a very sad time for all Caribbean people.  I remember when the store opened on Gunhill Rd in the Bx.  Growing up in the Bronx there were only 2 great patty spots.  Jackie's Bakery in the Baychester Ave. stripmall and Golden Crust.  Jackie's was there long before Golden Crust but when GC opened, the lines were out the door, all the time!!.  The patties were always piping hot and you would literally need to blow it or get ready for a tongue burn :)

It's always puzzling and unbelievable when people take their own lives.  If this is the case with Mr. Hawthorne, RIP and Rest His Soul.  But if he was murdered, I hope this investigation is not over and they catch who did this. 

Being successful and living a dream life sometimes comes with some horrific pressures and responsibilities; money does not fix everything and sure doesn't make you as happy as people think.  Life isn't easy, even when you have everything.

My sincere condolences to his family, friends and coworkers.

Comment by celena morgan on December 6, 2017 at 9:55am

Lord have mercy on our soul Rest In Peace Mr. Lowell  Hawthorne.

Comment by mr1stroke on December 6, 2017 at 9:19am
Jerome S well guess what sounds good, but since i am not concern about your little feeling i will continue to express my views as i see them, when i see niggers i will call them niggers, when i see blacks i will addres thrm as blacks, so every one will know who is who, so if you and the rest feel i am talking about you, than i am i cant help what shoes fit you and your friends, those gangs of hateful created that word for a reason and these days it fits perfectly

Now when you have those who dont want to work at 40 years old living with their moms in project apartment with multiple baby mamas, those are niggers, when you have people who say they wont work for minimum wage but will rob a hard working person for their pay like saturday in brooklyn 2 bastards age from 17 to 21 years olf jumped a 73 years old man took his wallet with $47 those are niggers, when you have people walking around shooting and killing people with no respect for life joining gangs those are your niggers, when you have bums going around making babies who are not poison in the community those are your negros, when you have women sleeping around with men they barely know without protection constantly getting pregnant popping bastards they cannot control or raise those are your niggers, when you have women who complaints about men but lower their standards to get pregnant over and over no self respect and not demanding commitment like marriage but continue to have kids for those bums those are your niggers, well thats all for now if you can tell me all that represent true essence of blackness than qe deserve everything society is throwing at us, you have to make up your of which is it and if you cant see the difference, why are we talking

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