'Daddy Stone' hailed as cornerstone of Sandals Resorts International

Observer West writer

Thursday, August 23, 2018

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ALBION, St James — Robert Edward Stone, popularly called Daddy Stone, Sandals Resorts International (SRI's) first team member, was hailed for his outstanding contribution to SRI's luxury resorts during a thanksgiving service held for the late steward at the Hillview Baptist Church in Montego Bay recently.

Daddy Stone's journey with the hotel chain began in 1981, when the company's Chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, brought the idea of Sandals to life with the opening of Sandals Montego Bay, following the purchase of the then Bay Roc Hotel.

'Daddy Stone' was employed as the resort's first maître d'hôtel.

“Over the next 30 years, he stood by the chairman's side, providing support and playing a pivotal role in shaping the service culture and standards that would come to define the luxury-included Sandals and Beaches experience. This later earned him the title of director of services, a role which saw him overseeing the training of all service professionals at the resort,” said SRI's group human resource manager, Cheryl Price.

“His teachings would eventually extend beyond Jamaica's shores, as the company expanded throughout the Caribbean as key team members from the flagship resort roved the region on a mission to 'Sandalise' new employees.”

Price said Daddy Stone's warm and friendly personality endeared him to many returning guests who would often call ahead to ensure he would be at the resort before confirming their bookings.

The 90-year-old was not only an outstanding team member, but a mentor to the young and tenured team members alike who sought his counsel whenever they required direction for their careers.

“He became a father to all who worked at the flagship; many adopted him if they were without a father figure in their own lives,” Price revealed.

Such an outstanding attribute led to the company naming a recently constructed conference centre in his honour.

“It's indeed quite fitting that his name is 'Stone', as he was indeed one of the cornerstones of the company that we know and love today. No story about the genesis of Sandals would be complete without mention and tribute to Daddy Stone, and though he will indeed be missed by everyone who has ever had the opportunity to meet and work with him, his memory and his lessons will certainly live on through all our team members who embody the signature Sandals service and continue to go above and beyond to make our guests happy,” Price said.

Daddy Stone, was also remembered as a family man who enjoyed reading the newspaper and watching CNN.

Members of the Hill View Baptist Church where Daddy Stone was a deacon, described him as “a gentleman with a gentleman's heart, clothed with humility, generosity and covered in kindness”.

Daddy Stone was born on February 29, 1928 in the parish of Westmoreland and relocated to St James at the age of 14 in pursuit of a better life.

He later entered the hospitality career, a field he remained in for 60 years, more than half of which was spent with Sandals.

In October of 2008, Daddy Stone was awarded a Badge of Honour for Meritorious Service in the Hospitality Service and was soon after inducted into the Sandals Hall of Fame.

Daddy Stone, who is also referred to as Justice Stone, served as a justice of the peace (JP) for over 30 years with distinction.

The large turnout of mourners included his family, Stewart, Sandals Resorts International employees, friends, as well as members the church community.

Daddy Stone leaves behind four children and five grandchildren.

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