The Honourable Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart Remembered
A dreamer who made the imagined a reality
I remember my first meeting with Butch Stewart.
It was at one of Sunquest Vacations’ annual fall launches at the onstellation Hotel out by Pearson Airport in Toronto back in the early 1980s.
He was working the room. Proudly handing out brochures featured his newly opened, first hotel in Montego Bay to travel agents wandering the exhibition floor.
He was a one man show — all energy and passion, extolling the attractions and amenities and virtues of the property, particularly the fact that every room had a hair dryer – a feature that was unheard of in the Caribbean hotel business at the time.
Over the years, when I met him in Toronto, or at conferences, or at his resorts … the passion was always there for the company’s latest development or a new innovation at one or all of his resorts.
In fact, I remember the time he took me on a personal tour of Sandals in Exuma. He knew everything about it, down to the smallest detail and as we walked, he was surveying the grounds, pointing out things that needed to be taken care of – things that many of us wouldn’t even notice.
And I owe him a debt of gratitude. He always remembered by name and he always had time to sit with me and answer my questions.
I was shocked to learn of his passing on Jan. 4, 2021. I will truly miss him.
And I’d like to share the words of Adam Stewart, deputy chairman of the Sandals Group, as he informed his team of his father’s passing:
“It is with great sadness that I share with you today the passing of our founder and Chairman, and my father, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart. This news seems almost unbelievable, since our chairman was as involved and forward thinking as ever.
He chose to keep a very recent health diagnosis private and we respected that wish.”
“The Hon. Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart OJ, a distinction he was so proud of, was a gifted entrepreneur. He was a marketing genius and talented showman, but those who knew him best recognized that he was a dreamer who could dream bigger and better than anyone. It was often said “the best thing for people 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 innovative things that would excite and delight our guests, and why it is so important that I remind you today of all days, that we will all continue to be his dream catchers.”
“Together, we have all been part of something bigger than ourselves, led by a man who believed in us and who gave us opportunities to learn, grow and the tools to make dreams real.”
“For him and because of him, we will continue to dream big and deliver on his certainty that true luxury is always best enjoyed by the sea.”
“My Dad lived a big life – husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather entrepreneur, statesman, dreamer. A singular personality and an unstoppable force who revelled in defying the odds, exceeding expectations and whose passion for his family was matched only by the people and possibility of the Caribbean, for whom he was a fierce champion.”
“There will never be another quite like him and we will miss him forever.”
“While I need to be with family right now, I look forward to speaking with you soon and sharing thoughts about the incredible future of this company built by this most incredible man.”
“Until then, and to use the words of his iconic sign off, this one last time, All that’s good.”
Adam, from all of us here at Baxter Media we want to offer our deepest sympathies. Your father was a good friend to the Baxter family – in fact, it was a friendship that goes back more than 40 years and it was one that was deeply cherished.
He will truly be missed by all of us.