Billionaire philanthropist and businessman,a devout Catholic, founder of Kwik Save supermarket chain, Albert Gubay passed away at his home in Willow Cheshire after a brief illness, on 5 January 2016. He was aged 87.
The Welsh entrepreneur and philanthropist who was born April 9th 1928 in Rhyl to an Irish mother and Iraqi Jewish father has donated millions to charity, with half of the profits each year from his £1bn fortune going to causes identified by the Church.
He said he had made a “Divine pact” with God, promising when he was younger and penniless to give half his estate to the Roman Catholic Church, if he succeeded in becoming a millionaire.
“One Saturday, I didn’t know where the next penny was coming from and I lay on my bed and I had this conversation with God,” he said.
“I said ‘God, help me and whatever I make over the years of my life, when I die, half will go to the church."
Mr. Albert had pledged to bequeath his fortune to charitable causes. So in March 2010,the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation was set-up with the aim of distributing the businessman’s money to the Church and other charitable causes after his death.He transferred £470 million of his £480 million personal fortune to a charitable trust. Half the income to be spent on projects connected with the Catholic Church with the rest distributed at the discretion of the trustee.
Gubay began his business career in North wales selling non-sugar sweets during the confectionery rationing in post-World War II. He founded the Kwik Save supermarket chain in 1965 and made his fortune with the Kwik Save retail chain, building it further on investments, mainly property development. He also founded the Total Fitness network of gyms which were sold in 2004 for £70m.
. In recognition of his generosity, Gubay was invested as Knight Commander with Star of the Order of St. Gregory the Great (KC*SG) on February 23 2011 by the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols. The highest award a Roman Catholic lay person can receive. He was invested with this Papal Knighthood for his outstanding generosity to the church and society.
His firm The Derwent Group said: “It is with the greatest sadness that we have to announce the death of our founder.
“Our thoughts are with his wife Carmel, his children and grandchildren,” added a spokesman.
Mr Hartley-Williams who worked in the Kwik Save head office in Prestatyn upon leaving school,talked about Mr. Gubay saying:.
“He did shape a lot of my life.I have never known anyone with such business acumen and such an appetite for business, yet I never saw him happier than when he was sitting on a dumper truck helping to build the stores.
“He was quite a modest guy and there was nothing he liked more than getting his hands dirty."