Lowell Hawthorne, founder and CEO of Golden Krust Bakery and Grill, was found shot to death earlier this afternoon at one of his factories in the Claremont section of the Bronx. He was 57 years old and the death has been ruled a suicide.
The first Golden Krust store opened in 1989. Since that time, the company has expanded to include 120 U.S. retail locations, while also supplying 20,000 outlets with more than 50 million patties per year.
In addition to creating a unique branding and logistics model that elevated the status of Caribbean cuisine — especially the Jamaican patty — throughout the United States, Golden Krust has also created a solid path to entrepreneurship for franchisees who took the leap.
Mr. Hawthorne’s compassionate and thoughtful side was chronicled during an episode of CBS’ Undercover Boss, and through his company’s foundation, he raised more than $100,000 in support of college education.
Shortly after the incident around 6pm this evening, an outpouring of love began on social media:
Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica
My condolences to the friends, family and employees of Jamaica-born Lowell Hawthorne, CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill.
He headed the largest Caribbean franchise chain in the US, with more than 120 stores. pic.twitter.com/PX9MpD2Mkg
— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) December 3, 2017
Franz N. Hall, Miami Consul General of Jamaica
David Squeeze Annakie, LinkUp Media Group
#lowellhawthorne I am so devastated by this and would like to offer my condolences to his family, friends and employees. He has been a sponsor, philanthropist and friend for just about 2 decades. One of the humblest individuals I have ever met. Lowell I will miss you, we all will miss you…sorry I can’t say more ….I am just at a loss for words. #Repost @mariechatwinmom ・・・
Eva Wilson, Caribbean Parenting Blogger, SocaMom®
— Eva Wilson/SocaMom® (@SocaMomDC) December 3, 2017
Ruben Diaz, Jr., Bronx Borough President
Lowell Hawthorne was a good friend, and was always ready to help my office whenever we needed him. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and employees during this difficult time. https://t.co/8HxX4CoSyg
— Ruben Diaz Jr. (@rubendiazjr) December 3, 2017
Read more about Mr. Hawthorne’s life and contributions.