Earl L. Bakewell was welcomed to the world and his family July 26, 1930 at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana. He passed away of natural causes on Tuesday September 22, 2020. In May of 2020. Earl unfortunately contracted Covid 19 while being a long term resident of an Orange County nursing home, and was never able to fully return to normal health.
Earl was a proud native son of New Orleans, Louisiana. The community known as the ‘Treme’ within the 6th Ward was where his family was from, and St. Peter Claver Catholic Church was where they practiced their faith and formed true friendships. Family was Earl’s was core, followed by friends, food, music, and faith. The French Quarters was his playground and where he had expressed a many of fun times. It also was where learned his first hustle in life, to shine shoes. Yes, Earl built himself a small wooden shoeshine boxes and proceed to market his services…. Nickle a shine …… Nickle a shine, would you like a shine?
Earl attended Xavier University Preparatory for high school. The Nunes, Teaching Staff, and student body would connect fondly with Earl until his passing. After graduating from his beloved Xavier Prep, he enlisted in U.S. Army. He was off to serve his country and see other parts of the U.S. and the world. While in the Army, he discovered that he was gifted with leadership and administration skills which opened the door for rapid promotions. During his tenure in the Army, he found himself in New Jersey “Fort Dix”, New York City, Japan, then Korea. During the Korean war, he was stationed towards the frontlines where he witnessed the war first-hand. During the conflict, he and other members of his division would pull monies and materials to support the local orphanage and assist where they could; he survived the Korean War. After serving six years in the Army, it was time return to the U.S. notably New Orleans, and then college.
Earl resettled with his family and enrolled in Xavier University with a focus on business administration. During this time, he began a business venture with his brother Frank. The business was a small neighborhood tavern, “The Cozy Corner’, which connected the local community and enabled him to apply the business principles which he learned at Xavier.
In the winter of 1956, Earl left his beloved New Orleans for new opportunities in Los Angeles, California. Earl was among many from the Crescent City to relocate to Los Angeles. Southern California was new, exciting, and full of promise. Earl settled in the Crenshaw district among his fellow New Orleanians. Earl worked in aerospace, hospitality & spirits, retail, automotive, legal, and real estate industries. The lessons that he learned as an entrepreneur back in his beloved New Orleans, he used in his new hometown of Los Angeles by starting several businesses – The Cazbar Cocktail/Jazz club, a convenience market & Liquor store, Petroleum Transport, and Real Estate. Let history note that Earl Bakewell was driven and was always seeking success. His ambitious drive rewarded him all of the comforts of success. He prided himself as a well-dressed man, enjoyed having the best cars and owning homes. Earl enjoyed sharing his success with his family. He was a giving man. Earl loved music and those who performed. As a child in New Orleans, he was surrounded by music and this began his love affair with music and song. While stationed in New York with the Army, he began to study the art of Opera. From that instruction, he used that as a platform to sing, and sing often. Singing was his hobby and passion which he shared with friends and family. When he would hear a few notes from either Nat King Cole, or Frank Sinatra, don’t be surprised if you would hear his baritone voice riding the notes of the song.
In the later part of his life, he left his beloved Los Angeles for the warmth of Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, he and his beloved June would enjoy all that Vegas had to offer. Visiting with friends would lead into dinner and drinks at a casino. Maybe taking in a show, where maybe he would be asked to sing a song or two, or just enjoying the warm desert nights under the neon lights of the Vegas strip. Earl liked Vegas.
Earl was a son, brother, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He was the youngest son of Lawrence and Willamina Bakewell. His siblings: Marion Bakewell Carter, and Frank J. Bakewell. Earl’s two sons: Michael Lance and Vernel. From Lance, he was gifted with three granddaughters: Consuelo Morgan, Angela Moore, and Jackie Honaker. Earl was also the loving stepfather to Valencia Blanks Burner. In-addition, he was the cherished uncle of Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., Pamela Bakewell (Pam’s Godfather) and Lawrence G. Carter. In addition to the younger generations of the Bakewell family. For the past forty years (1980 to 2020), Earl has shared this life and love with his beloved Ms. June Gaines of Las Vegas NV. If anyone knew Earl Bakewell, it was truly June. From the time they met at the perfume counter at Sears’s department store in Inglewood California in 1980, It was one adventure after another. Earl being the Don Juan that he was, said to himself, this one is a keeper. And forty years later, the love affair continued. A true blessing!
As our family reflects on the loss of beloved Earl and his many accomplishments, everyone is confident to say that they are all blessed to be able to call him a Life Companion, Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa, Uncle, and friend. We will always love you and we’ll always miss you. Rest in peace Earl L. Bakewell