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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 red bone on December 7, 2017 at 3:10pm
Damn Mr 1Stroke going in hard!! I haven’t heard “coconuts “ since 6grade! Lmao!!
Comment by mr1stroke on December 7, 2017 at 12:26pm

Trump for president in 2020

Comment by mr1stroke on December 7, 2017 at 12:25pm

and this is what you idiots dont understand  as long as it is base in the America whether its me or someone else we will invade like the white man, facebook is not carribean but you are on there and many other sites that originate by Americans in fact  what ever you are using now is not made by caribbean so if i were you i wouldnt brag, look at this little site how long as it been in existence this is the most embarrass site i have ever seen, you cant even edit a comment lol look at it, what can this site compete with lol this is like eating the same coco bread and that bullshit stank breakfast you people eat your overweight old b**** lol

Comment by mr1stroke on December 7, 2017 at 12:20pm

CARIBBEAN QUEEN  you have got to be the most retarded idiot on here, or is it an age thing, you cant keep up with the memory, dont forget one thing social media is not meant for old people,n now in your previous comment you said

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

 I responded and of course i nailed that little feelings of yours

now in your comment you said :

"who invited this person on the forum.. and talking the most trash, yet not even caribbean" 

so which one is it either you are a born American or a coconut fresh out the boat you cannot wake up and want to pick nationality or race lol make up your mind, but this is what happen with those who wants to fit in or trying to be, ok ill accept you  in the U.S.A but i still support the president with the wall and the travel banned, i just cant stand having all those immigrants over here even though i used many of them my tax money is getting hurt, it aint my fault i make them pay more in my business than a brother form here it aint my fault i try not to support their businesses it is because of people like you and the rest of them, if  i go to a shop in brooklyn i hear an accent i keep it moving or where ever  in the us it would have to be the last draw for me to go and in my town many try to open businesses it dont last because we do not support them because of people like you, majority of coconut think the same way so many of us will continue to treat you the same, now get your f****** greencard



Comment by CARIBBEAN QUEEN on December 7, 2017 at 11:51am

who invited this person on the forum.. and talking the most trash, yet not even caribbean.

.beat it like michael said.

Comment by CARIBBEAN QUEEN on December 7, 2017 at 11:40am

i keep telling this god damn fool its better to keep his trap shut and stop making an ass out of oneself. 

n**** muffing..im from the  UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLAND, SO  GO BUILT THE WALL.. ASS HOLE IN THE FLESH...........BWAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA, BWAHAAAAAAAAA, THIS FOOL GAVE ME SO MUCH LAUGH...bye the way this idiot dont even know if im here or there, keep talking  your nonsense while we keep laughing at ya!...bwahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, bwahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.. carry on loser..bwahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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? 

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