The Honourable Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart passed away on Mon. Jan 4, 2021 in the United States. He was 79.
The founder of Sandals and Beaches Resorts was a towering figure in both the Caribbean and the global travel industry, and over the course of his 52-year career his innovative, new ideas revolutionized the hospitality industry.
In a social media post following “The Chairman’s” passing, his son, Adam Stewart, deputy chairman of Sandals Resorts International wrote:
“Tonight, we lost our super hero. Our family couldn’t be more proud of the legacy you have created and the incredible life you lived. You approached every day to change the world, nothing was impossible.”
His post continues:
“A Jamaican boy turned entrepreneur with a heart as big as his voice and a personality that nobody could contain. My dad was built of old world values, manners and respect, humility and appreciation, honesty and integrity and always looked out for everyone, especially his family.”
In his message, Stewart notes that:
“He devoted his 52 years in entrepreneurship to defying the odds and changing industries, and with that creating opportunities for the 15,000+ extended family members of our group of companies. Dad, I know I speak on behalf of our entire family & our teams when I say we will continue to fly your flag into orbit and build on your legacy with the same values you taught us all too well.”
In closing, Stewart writes:
“I love you Dad, and will miss you beyond words until I see you again on the other side. Until then, and to use the words of your 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 be missed by all of us here.
So, to all of you, take a moment today and remember Butch Stewart.
Yes, truly, we have lost one of our super heroes …
UPDATE: Condolences From The Industry
In remembering Stewart, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett expressed “deep sadness” at the passing of tourism stalwart Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.
Minister Bartlett said: “Butch was truly an icon and innovator, philanthropist and perhaps the greatest marketer tourism has ever seen. Sandals is indeed the largest and most enduring brand created by a Caribbean entrepreneur in tourism and arguably the world today and the standard by which luxury All Inclusive is judged. I hail him as a father, leader, benefactor, and the greatest tourism entrepreneur of our time. His passing is truly devastating.”
He continued: “Gordon Butch Stewart has made an indelible mark. He has established himself as not just the standard by which entrepreneurship can be judged, but he has established a brand that has become global and is also the strongest statement that small island states such as Jamaica can make on global scenes, irrespective of their areas of involvement.”
And Minister Bartlett observed: “I think that we can look back on his life and times and draw inspiration from the success that he has had. But I think, most importantly, we can be inspired by his resilience and the fact that he has started from nowhere, and has ended up as being one of the most celebrated human beings that Jamaica has produced in the last century.”
Minister Bartlett stated: “I, on behalf of the entire Ministry of Tourism, want to pay our very deep respect and regards to him and say to his family, your gift to us is going to be what will inspire us, particularly through this difficult period of COVID-19. It is a hard moment to say good bye but it is a great moment for us to draw inspiration and to be guided to the future.”
And he concluded: “He was a fierce campion and I thank God that a Butch Stewart was among us. We thank God for the legacy that he has left behind and we have to draw on that great inspiration and to build a stronger and better place for ourselves and posterity.”
In a statement, Vanessa Ledesma, Acting CEO and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) said: “As we mourn the loss of Caribbean tourism icon the Honorable Gordon “Butch” Stewart, OJ, CD, Hon. LLD, we extend our heartfelt condolences to the Stewart family and the thousands of extended family members in the Sandals organization.”
Ledesma writes that: “Our industry will forever be indebted to “Butch” for his continued passion for excellence and legendary Caribbean hospitality. His vision has bestowed to the global industry a Caribbean organization that adheres to the highest standards of excellence, celebrates and promotes the region’s uniqueness, and invests in the development of our people and communities.”
She pointed out that: “Mr. Stewart, one of the first recipients of the Caribbean Hotelier of the Year distinction, was a great supporter of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and an inspiration to so many of us in the region.”
And Ledesma concluded: “Let us preserve and build upon his legacy by continuing to support the development of our industry.”