Travel pioneer Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, who founded Jamaica’s Sandals hotel, has died.
Stewart was created in Kingston, Jamaica in 1941. He grew up on the island, where he received the nickname “Butch” after being called it by an American sailor.
He became one of the most successful Jamaican businessmen ever, owning a company worth vast sums of dollars.
After being educated in England, Stewart worked for Dutch-owned Curaçao Trading Company, before leaving to found his own firm – Kitchen appliance Traders.
But his true breakthrough came in April 1981, when he bought two derelict hotels, renovated them and reopened as the Sandals Resort Beach Club, later known as Sandals Montego Bay.
Following that his empire grew – eventually creating 25 resorts over the Caribbean.
As well as Sandals Resorts, Stewart founded Beaches Resorts, The ATL Group as well as the Jamaica Observer.
He died in the United States following a brief illness aged 79, he results in several children and his better half, Cheryl.
His son, Adam Stewart – deputy chairman of Sandals – told the Jamaica Observer: “It really is with great sadness that I share with you today the passage of my father, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.
“This media seems almost astounding, since he was as involved and forward-thinking as ever. He thought we would keep a very recent health diagnosis private and we reputed that wish.”
His son described him as “a gifted businessman:.
“He was a marketing genius and talented showman, but those who recognized him best accepted that he was a dreamer who could goal bigger and better than anyone. It had been often said: ‘The most sensible thing for individuals around him to do is be dream catchers.’
“That’s why he always credited his success to the incredible team around him, why he listened intently when it came to creating ground breaking things that could excite and pleasure our guests, and just why it is so important that I remind you today of most days, that people will all continue being his wish catchers.”
He added: “MY FATHER lived a big life – hubby, dad, grandfather, great grandfather businessman, statesman, dreamer.
“A singular personality and an unstoppable force who revelled in defying the odds, exceeding objectives and whose love for his family was matched only by individuals and possibility of the Caribbean, for whom he was a fierce champ.
“There won’t be another quite like him and we will neglect him forever.”