Jamaican-born CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill, Lowell Hawthorne, who migrated to the US in the 1980s, committed suicide in his Bronx factory Saturday night.
Mr. Hawthorne founded the restaurant franchise chain and had 120 locations in nine states.
According to the New York post, he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Golden Krust opened its first restaurant in 1989 in the Bronx after Hawthorne, his wife Lorna, four of his siblings and their spouses, pooled their money.
By 1996, the company, which was famous for its beef patties, owned 17 restaurants in New York. Then it began its wildly successful franchising operation.
Hawthorne told the Wall Street Journal in 2015 that his goal was for all Americans by 2020 to know about Jamaican patties.
Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the US, Audrey Marks is expressing shock at Hawthorne’s death.
In a statement, she describes Hawthorne as one of the most visible members of the Jamaican and Caribbean American community. She says his journey in business served as a great inspiration to countless individuals, communities and businesses.
Ms. Marks says while it will be a struggle to come to terms with the loss, it’s important to treasure the good memories of Hawthorne and his philanthropic spirit.