Gerry Crown... the Kingdom of the Heart
The Crown Has Fallen
Lyn, all Crowns, Audrey, Family, Friends, Fans, Colleagues, …
We lost the Crown, yet inherited a Kingdom…
No, we did not inherit it last Sunday, the morning Gerry passed away,
No, we, all of us, have been inheriting it for years, for decades,
No, it is not a Kingdom of Jewels, Territories, or Subordinates.
It is the Kingdom Of The Heart…
Heart full of love, devotion, and admiration for you, Lyn,
Heart full of care for his daughters Geraldine, Frances, Patricia and their families,
Heart full of loyalty to Audrey and the employees,
Heart full of pioneering, adventuring and aspiration while setting records in private life and business,
Heart full of friendship with so many and for so many years,
Heart full of unconditional generosity and charity, without expecting reciprocity.
Heart full of bravery, persistence, and endurance in combating monstrous races with Matt,
Heart full of warm hospitality and an open house in your Sydney home, for so many including Margreeth, Jochanan, Naomi, Jair and myself.
Heart never too old and always curious to learn new techniques, ways of communication and history,
Heart full of honesty, relativity, and charm, like rejecting John the buyer’s request for a discount simply declaring it would reduce Crown and Andrews’ profit…
Heart full of humor and rolling laughter while telling or listening to a good fake or real joke, like the one about departing tipsy from a yearly river fishing party, some distance away, taking the wrong car home, finding, some days later a trunk full of stinking rotten fish,
Heart full of indiscriminate respect for the “Nobless and the Penniless”,
Heart full of patience, understanding and forgiveness, like in the recorded video conversation I was privileged to have had with Gerry last September. We had to redo it three times: Instead of forty-five minutes it was spread over many hours and days due to our digital illiteracy…
How fortunate we all have been, Lyn, you naturally, the most, the daughters and Audrey, to share, witness and benefit from that gigantic heart.
Even a tiny pinch of this inspiring inheritance made us all very very rich,
Gerry’s heart stopped beating but the beat will resonate and be carried on by all who knew him.
In name of the Goliath Group and the Golad family, thank you Gerry, thank you Lyn, thank you Audrey, thank you all the Crowns for sharing the Kingdom of The Heart with us.
-Adi Golad, Founder and Managing Director, Goliath Group (Netherlands)
(Toy Giants in Jerusalem: Gerry Crown, Bob Fuhrer, Jim Pressman,
Michael Kohner, Bruce Lund and Adi Golad)
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Gerry was just one of those magical elves who charmed the world with his infectious warmth, creativity and never say no attitude. -Alan Hassenfeld, Chairman Executive Committee, Hasbro
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Gerry is a true legend in and outside of the toy industry. A man of honor. A man of his word and a good friend. He will be celebrated and toasted forever and be in the hearts and minds of a lot of people. Gerry will be greatly missed. -Michael Kohner, The Michael Kohner Corporation, (U.S.)
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(Andrew Lee, Gerry Crown and David Norman)
I was only fortunate enough to know Gerry for about six years. He was a great gentleman, a classic story teller, exceptional businessman and most importantly a friend to all. He provided an example of how to live life to the fullest, winning endurance car races well into his eighties, selling with panache, and training the rest of us up. He was one of those rare people you would reschedule your day to make sure you got a chance to talk to him. I’ll miss him. -David Norman, Global President and CMO of Gaming at Goliath Games (U.S)
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(Crown and Andrews team 2016)
Gerry will be sadly missed as he was the ultimate gentleman, very generous and much loved by staff and friends of the Crown & Andrews/Goliath business. There has been many tears as well re telling of some of Gerry’s great adventures.
I am very lucky to have spent the last 7 years working alongside Gerry and to experience 1st hand how wonderful a man he was. A great mentor and a toy industry titan. I will remember the great times we had and he will truly be missed.
Much Love to Lyn and the family.
Andrew Lee, MANAGING DIRECTOR, Goliath Games | Crown & Andrews | Elephanta | Britz N Pieces | Wahu (Australia)
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(Gerry Crown and Noel Thurlow)
I have known Gerry for over 40 years and he has always been a great friend and mentor. We were a member of a "special club"...Club 14, where every year we would drive (as you know Gerry loved to drive) 10 hours from Sydney on the way to the Victorian Gippsland lakes. On the way we would stop with a number of colleagues and play golf in a number of locations then meet up with a large group of friends and colleagues in a small town called Metung. Gerry was a very accomplished golfer and embarrassed his younger friends by beating them soundly (including yours truly). You discover a lot about a person when you are in the car with them for 10 hours. His genuine warmth for everyone, his knowledge of the industry, his infectious laughter and the famous "Gerry groan" will be greatly missed. He leaves a huge hole in my heart. The above picture of Gerry and Noel Thurlow (both former Presidents of the Australian Toy Association) on a cruiser in the Gippsland Lakes. -John Redenbach Category Manager, Wheels, Sports , camping and Fishing, Big W
(Gerry Crown and Audrey New at Nuremberg Toy Fair)
I met Gerry over 30 years ago while I was in my mid 20's and breaking into the industry. Gerry was 100 then! He would have laughed at that and not just a giggle but a laugh that came right from his toes. The kind of laugh that we all want to have every day.
For those that never met Gerry, imagine Sean Penn, age him 20 years, throw on a head of arctic blonde curly hair and use an Australian accent. ALSO, don't forget the legendary monocle.
I learned of Gerry's passing from my brother and figured that he learned it through Mary Couzin which proved correct. I am grateful for what you do Mary. You are the human Rummikub. You "Bring People Together".
The memories of Gerry came flooding back last night. A tear of sadness in one eye and a tear of laughter in the other as I rolled through the stories.
Our first meeting was in London during Earl's Court Toy Fair, I think on the Waddington's stand and of course later that evening in the Gloucester or Swallow hotel bar where our friendship started. Age did not matter to Gerry because he lived like a perpetual kid, always seeming to look at the world from the ground up.
From there forward we set meetings in every country we were in, even if the meetings were days apart. I listened and learned from him. Gerry was always on time for our meetings but it was on HIS time. You knew the actual meeting was about to start when he took that deep breath in and then exhaled with a "Riiiiight!". The discussion would happen and his toy industry wife, Audrey would take all the notes and do all the follow up since she really ran the ship. He would end each meeting the same way they started and we all moved on to the next show in the next country.
Nurnberg Toy Fair seemed to be his favourite show and Gerry was in his element there. He was among the few that could make Frau Brigitta (who he called "Biggie"), one of the managers at the Merkur hotel where we both stayed, laugh and smile. You knew the evening (or morning) was coming to an end as he got the entire hotel bar singing old ballads. His legendary OOOOM Pa Pa evenings of sausages, sauerkraut and several beverages were also quite memorable.
After Nurnberg we would all fly in to NY for Toy Fair. Another meeting, this time at the Hyatt and always attending the legendary Michael Kohner Hockey Night where the International Toy Industry would be Michael's guests and enjoy each other's company while watching the Rangers. As a Canadian, I qualified to attend but tended to hold court in the Penn Restaurant bar for those that preferred to talk. Just wonderful times.
Gerry worked hard and played hard. I learned a great deal from him not just by collaborating but also simply by listening to what he wanted to share. It seemed inevitable that a partnership with Goliath would take place. Different but like minds with a common understanding that they would both be more "Clever together".
He made an impact. He made a difference.
May the memory of Gerry Crown serve as a blessing and comfort to all that mourn his passing and to his family, please accept my heartfelt condolences. -Richard Albert, VP Operations, TCG – The Canadian Group (Canada)
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(Gerry playing Telestrations at the Australian Toy Fair 2020)
Gerry was a dear friend and colleague who I have known almost since I joined the toy industry back in 1985. Gerry was a force of nature to say the least. Always a smile and a story, if anyone lived life to the full it was him - from running his small but successful company Crown & Andrews to racing in major rally’s across the world in rebuilt and re-conditioned antique cars he was an amazing character. I remember working with him at various Australian toy fairs – moving product around, playing games, climbing ladder to re-position signage all the way up to opening time! My favorite times however, were with Gerry and Audrey on the road around the world – countless encounters at bars and restaurants with the biggest smiles and hugs you could ever wish for. You will be missed my friend. -Richard Gill, VP International, PlayMonster (U.S.)
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(Gerry in the Peking to Paris Rally)
It was almost 20 years ago when I first met Gerry. We were in the conference room at Seven Towns in London. As an enthusiastic 20 something kid I launched into a over excited product presentation whilst Gerry slowly put on his monocle and opened his ledger. I nervously watched him scribble numbers in pencil in various mysterious columns. It was in that meeting Through Seven Towns that I licensed my first game idea to the toy industry with Crown and Andrew’s.
That evening I attended my first ever “uk toy inventor dinner”. My colleagues had not arrived yet so I entered an intimidating room full of strangers. I was speaking on the phone to my wife telling her how I felt such a Idiot when Gerry slapped me on the back and handed me a beer. I’ll be forever grateful for Gerry noticing me standing there on my own, but that was the kind of chap Gerry was. -Gary Pyper founder fun-damental invention (U.K.)
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Gerry was pivotal in putting a lot of cash into UK tills in the 1970’s and beyond with Sketch-a-Graph. His initiative with revolutionary TV campaigns and drive on a product manufactured in Australia over 10,000 miles away coupled with the 11 hour time difference was exceptional. These were the days of telex or prohibitive telephone costs, plus long distance air flights with multiple stops. -Richard Highfield, Owner, Surprise Marketing (UK)
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(Peking to Paris Motor Challenge Winners – Gerry Crown & Matt Bryson)
I didn't know Gerry nearly as well as my friends and colleagues above, but when I had the good fortune of being with him, he was as all described him. At the UK Inventor Dinners, where I saw him most often, there was always crowd around him with laughter and joy. He loved and was loved. -Mary Couzin
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Authored by John Redenbach and Noel Thurlow for the Crown family, a reflection on the vibrant life of Australian toy industry stalwart Gerry Crown ...
Gerald Leon Crown (Gerry)
An Entrepreneur, Bon Vivant, Champion Rally Driver, Serious Golfer, Loving Husband and Father and a real English Gentleman!
Gerry came to Melbourne from the UK in 1957.
One of his good friends Vic Andrews had migrated to Australia and was in love with the place so Gerry decided to come and join him.
Originally, he settled down in Melbourne and they formed a partnership and called the company “Crown and Andrews”.
Gerry and Vic were “gadget men” initially and used to demonstrate kitchen gadgets in the likes of Myer and the then John Martins in Adelaide.
He graduated to dabbling in TV advertising selling knives on television.
He married Lyn, the love of his life in 1959 then moved to Sydney in 1965 (his favourite song he sung to her was “If you were the only girl in the World”).
Vic Andrews didn't want to live in Sydney so that was good news for Audrey New as she was doing a management course at the time and Gerry asked her to work for him in 1973 (she lived over the road!).
Gerry then went back to the UK with his family and left the running of the business in Australia to the very capable Audrey whilst Gerry opened up a UK office.
His first big toy hit was Sketchagraph and this is also where his UK Company was involved.
Sketchagraph was being successfully marketed on TV in South Africa and it was offered to Gerry. He formed another Company, “Sketchagraph” and as a consequence promoted the item on TV and the rest is history. Throughout a number of Countries, it managed to sell 8million units which was unheard of in those days.
Over time he formed four Companies...one even sold carpet cleaners!
But his main love was always toys.
His favourite Toy Fair apart from Australia was Nuremberg and you could always catch he and Audrey at a particular coffee shop doing business or after hours in the bar at the Maritim in Nuremberg.
He and Audrey organised an Oom Pah Pah night for all the buyers they knew from around the World.
1977 saw the release of Test Match...a game that is enduring today as it was back then, selling in both the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
In 1984 he developed a board game packaged in a 6-pack foam cooler that was a trivia game full of Australian questions...Oz Quiz and when that was successful, he went on to develop Brit Quiz.
In 1988 he developed the Neighbours board game and that was a smash hit in Australia and the UK where Neighbours was rating well - hundreds of thousands of pieces were sold.
The hits kept coming in the 90’s with the Sale of the Century board game which was massive in Australia.
He always had an affiliation with board games and puzzles and developed a strong relationship with the famous Australian photographer Ken Duncan, and went on to sell his puzzles in Australia and overseas.
He was always very generous with his time particularly when it came to children's charities.
He and Audrey were involved in the Toy Associations Wheelchairs for Kids, raising funds with donated goods at many of the charity night functions. He was involved in a Lions Club school in Bangladesh and when the opportunity came up in 1999 to develop a “Kids Day” (where a % of sales on the day went to a kid’s charity ) he quickly organised a troupe of people to make it happen
For his charity work he was awarded an AOM on the 14th of June 2004, you rarely saw him in public without him proudly displaying the award on his lapel.
Gerry was elected to the ATA Board in 1997 and President in 2001 for a two-year term.
He is (as is Audrey) an Australian Toy Hall of Famer and was inducted in 2007 for his services to the Toy Industry.
He was a singer! He sang in the Messiah for 15 years alternating between the Opera House and Sydney Town Hall.
He was a champion rally driver and earned himself the Title of “Triple Crown” as he won the Paris to Peking 3 times as the driver with Matt Bryson his navigator by his side. (the last in 2019 at the age of 87)!
He sold his business to his good friend Adi Golad the owner of Goliath games ...they had established a relationship many years prior with Crown and Andrews distributing and promoting Goliath games.
Gerry and Lyn loved to entertain and always opened their house to all for Boxing Day, an event that we always looked forward to.
He also loved his golf and was a member of Oatlands and played annually along the South Coast on the way to the annual Metung golfing trip.
As a raconteur his stories were always very entertaining.
Gerry has achieved in a lifetime what others would have taken 3 lifetimes to achieve.
Gerry will be missed by all of his mates in the trade both here and overseas, and is survived by his wife Lyn, and daughters Geraldine, Frances and Patricia and his 6 grandchildren.