• " I was fortunate to have Phil as my mentor during Business..."
    - Sachia Persaud
  • "Our deepest condolences to the Bakes family. Phil was a..."
    - Judy Panko Reis
  • "Phil will always be remembered as a great mentor and..."
    - Dena Hale
  • "I probably knew Phil for over 25 years as a member -- a..."
    - Justin Zubrod
  • "Phil was one of a kind,in every way . When I think of him I..."
    - Scott Lang

BAKES, PHIL, "There is no greater love than to give your life for a friend. " In typical Phil Bakes fashion, he put a twist on this biblical quote and rewrote it. There is no greater love than to live your life for a friend. That sums up who Phil was, how he lived his life and what he instilled in his children. Those lives are many, the relationships run deep and are varied. His accomplishments as a leading global thinker and entrepreneur are well known yet these were not his greatest accomplishments. His first priorities were as a husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, mentor and mitigator of insurmountable odds in others' lives. He was a world-class CEO who read the business plans of MBA students he mentored many who were the first in their families to attend college with the same laser scrutiny and inspired guidance that he gave to colleagues. His favorite midnight summits were not in the many countries he traveled, but on his living room sofa, his sons and daughters held hostage in lively debates. He never liked consensus. He asked only for commitment. Discover your talents and share them will your fellow man. Philip J. Bakes, Jr. of Miami, Florida, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, surrounded by his loving family, concluding a life of love, adventure and achievement. Phil had a brilliant career in business and the law. He was a 1971 magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School where he served as Articles Editor of the Harvard Law Review. From 1972 to 1980, Phil dedicated his life to public service, first as a Watergate Special Prosecutor, then as general counsel to the Civil Aeronautics Board, and finally with Senator Edward M. Kennedy working with the Senate Judiciary Committee and later as Kennedy's Deputy Campaign manager during his 1980 presidential run. In 1980, Phil began his long career at the highest levels of the travel and hospitality industry. He was President of Continental Airlines from 1980 to 1985. In 1985, he moved his family to Miami, where he proudly headed Eastern Airlines as its President and CEO. He later co-founded Far & Wide, one of the largest value-added leisure providers. For his work at Far & Wide, Phil was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2001. From 2004, Phil worked at BFC Financial and its affiliated entities, most recently as Co-Managing Partner of BBX Capital Partners. But nothing was more important to Phil than his family. He loved to plan unique family vacations including a family reunion in his ancestral homeland of Sicily, and once-in-a-lifetime trips to Africa, Hawaii, Colorado, Mexico and countless other destinations. Married to the love of his life, Jodie Tenehats Bakes, for over 20 years, they found joy and fulfillment in family, sense of adventure and their professional accomplishments. They were truly a yin and a yang, complementing one another into a harmonious union. Friends were family to him, too. He loved to host epicurean feasts for his family and friends where he could share food and wine with his loved ones and belt out Frank Sinatra songs with his father (Phil Jr. sometimes being slightly off-key). For the last 30 years of his life, Phil made Miami his home, and it was a community and place he loved most above all others. He developed life-long personal relationships, especially through the Young Presidents and World Presidents Organizations as well as co-founder of the Miami-based Strategic Forum. Phil dedicated much of his time to mentoring others whether they were students, young professionals, highly accomplished executives and especially his own family members. A lover of health and exercise, Phil ran over 6 marathons, rode multiple 100+ bike trips throughout the world and had memberships to 5 local gyms, all of which he used regularly. Phil was born in Little Rock, AR to Philip J. Bakes, Sr. and Theresa (Tiernan) Bakes, and grew up in Chicago, IL. He is survived by his wife, Jodie, his children, Tia Diaz-Balart (Mario), Justin, Kyle and Erin Bakes, his grandson, Cristian Rafael Diaz-Balart, and his furry family, Fetch, Dum Dum, Gilbert and Ryder, his sister Judy Peterson of Glenview, IL, his nieces and nephews, Tracy O'Flaherty (Cathal) of Kenilworth, IL, Erik and Jerry Anderson of Naperville, IL, and Kaitlin Kawulok of Olympia, WA. A celebration of his life will take place on Saturday, August 13th, 2016 at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. The service begins promptly at 1:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated. Please visit for information on how to donate to one or more of Phil's favorite organizations that include MD Anderson, University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center, American Cancer Society, Headstrong Foundation and Be The Match.
Published in the Miami Herald on Aug. 7, 2016
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