The nation’s oldest hotelier, Graeme Anthony ‘Tony’ Johnson, passed last evening at the age of 95 at his home at Siboney Beach Club at Dickenson Bay.
Johnson is said to have died of natural causes.
Just two years ago, Johnson sold his hotel to a group led by local businessman, Roy Bento. Prior to that, Johnson had been in the hotel industry in Antigua for 58 years as he managed, owned or operated water sports ventures and hotels.
In recent years, Johnson had also been an advocate for better shared beach access. He said access to many local beaches was being lost to hotel development.
“Developers and the government need to realise that a balance must be struck,” Johnson said in a previous OBSERVER media interview, “when it comes to proper beach access for all residents and tourists.”
In 2014, the Antigua and Barbuda Hotels and Tourist Association awarded him with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” for services to the tourism sector.
In 2014, Johnson was granted the honour of Grand Officer of the Most Illustrious Order of Merit – GOM, for distinguished contribution to Community Development. Johnson had been instrumental in the development of the tourism sector in Antigua and Barbuda.
His philanthropic work has benefited the less fortunate and physically challenged, especially children. He is the founder of the Amazing Grace Foundation and administrator of the Karin Boden Foundation since 1990. The Karin Boden Fund has allowed numerous children to receive medical assistance overseas, and has provided equipment such as wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs to persons in need.
At the time of his death, the fund was in the completion phase of a home for a handicapped lady who, as a young child, was the original inspiration behind the Fund.