Popular Guyanese-American promoter, Monty Luke, has left a legacy of great entertainment, and a long line of party goers sad at his sudden passing on April 25, after celebrating his 80th birthday on April 1, in his usual fine style.
Patrons said they were in a state of shock, many, who attended summer boat cruises hosted by the former deejay. Luke, a flashy dresser, earned a sterling reputation as an accomplished music promoter for years, and was acknowledged as a pioneering promoter of Reggae music in Guyana.
Luke was honored with a citation from the Senate and General Assembly of New Jersey in commemoration of the 52nd Anniversary of Independence of Guyana and Flag raising in 2018, hosted by the Guyana American Heritage Foundation Inc., (GAHFI) New Jersey, for his meritorious record of service, leadership, commitment and sterling reputation.
Lady Ira Lewis, fellow promoter, friend, and president of GAHFI, described Luke as a caring, charitable person who, days before passing, had asked to have the organization’s food distribution be extended to his community.
A former Harlem resident, Luke’s work was hailed as a model to emulate. “Within all the spheres of his life and work, Monty Luke has established a model to emulate and set a standard of excellence toward which others might strive,” states the citation.
A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology and Baruch College, Luke served with distinction as an outstanding educator in the secondary public schools in Guyana, and enjoyed a superb career within the fashion industry, including as the owner or Genesis, a European-style boutique in Brooklyn, and was the only Brooklyn distributor of America’s fist black internationally acclaimed designer, Willi Smith.
In 1981, Luke launched the first Miss Guyana USA Pageant in American, and shared his wisdom and expertise in producing one of the biggest Guyanese hit songs in North America, “Sharon Sharon.”
Oldest daughter, Debbie Luke, told Caribbean Life that her father, and parent to her five siblings, had created a journal to chronicle his retirement, and then returned to the community to continue promoting his social events.
“When I was growing up, my dad traveled a lot. He was not at home often, but we stayed in touch constantly.”
“Just prior his death, he had printed business cards and raffle tickets, as he was organizing a fundraiser for Kids for Us, a charity that donates school supplies and backpacks to children in Guyana. He had accepted the position to serve as secretary,” said Debbie Luke.
She said he was excited about turning 80, and had started planning for the big milestone since 2020, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, he was forced to put everything on hold.
Fortunately, he enjoyed a small celebration with friends on April 10, nine days after his birthday celebration was rained out. Friend Michael Deabreu Luthers, owner of Talk AD-Town Radio hosted the hang.
“The celebration was beautiful. Monty was a popular person. He was a member of multiple organizations, like the Lions Club, Church groups, among many others.”
“He had a deep connection to the community. Every year more and more people got to know him because of his promotions. He was a great teacher. He always gave the right advice, and he was charitable,” said Michael Deabreu Luthers, who was one of many friends, including, Charles Springer, owner of Springer Screen Printing, whose birthday party Monty recently attended.
“We had big plans for the month of July to give back to the community,” continued, Deabreu Luthers, who respected the elder man, whom he said enjoyed being among the younger Guyanese generation.
Former Trinidad-born model, Janice Lawrence-Clarke, in a Facebook post said, “My heart is so sad. I just spoke to Monty on Friday afternoon. He was looking around the apartment, maneuvering construction, for something to wear, because he was going out that evening. My dear friend, I’ve known him since the 70s, I used to model with him.”
“My sympathy and condolences to his daughter and all his family, may Monty’s spirit and soul Rest In Peace Eternal,” said Lawrence-Clarke
“Just the other day you wanted me, you and Michael to meet up and put together something huge, so sad,” expressed Shoan O Sampson, CEO, Caribbean Power Jam Radio.
Despite being a resident of Harlem, Luke spent most of his time in Brooklyn, a place he loved, and where he died while waiting at one of the borough’s subway stations, to travel home.
Luke’s charitable spirit was seen in a Facebook post that said, “For my birthday this year, I’m asking for donations to Irish Cancer Society. I’ve chosen this nonprofit because their mission means a lot to me, and I hope you’ll consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me. Every little bit will help me reach my goal.”
The tributes continue to pour in like this one from Gladys Roberts that says, “My heart is filled with sadness. I lost my dear friend. May his soul rest in peace.”
And Linden Archer-Graham who said “May you sleep in peace Monty. We had a positive conversation about three weeks ago. I will remember it.”
Deborah Bend-Walcott wrote,” Cuz I will miss our many long conversations. You called me last Thursday and said that you will call me right back SIP, my heartfelt condolences. My father’s side of my family is getting very small.”
Monty Luke leaves to mourn his family, many friends and fans. He will be celebrated on May 6, with a service at the Grace Christian Church in Brooklyn.