Obituary: Garrett Bewkes Jr.
Garrett Bewkes Jr. died on Monday, January 7, 2019 in New York City. His career spanned decades as a top executive in the food, beverage and consumer products industries and service on numerous boards in the financial service industry.
Mr. Bewkes was a graduate of Deerfield Academy and received his B.A. from Colgate University, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa; he received his J.D. in 1951 from Yale Law School. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Colgate University Board of Trustees.
Most recently, Mr. Bewkes was a director of Paine Webber Group, Inc. and chairman of numerous Paine Webber Mutual Funds, as well as a Director of Interstate Bakeries Corporation.
Before that, Mr. Bewkes was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Bakeries Company (NYSE). He joined that company in 1982 as CEO and achieved seventeen quarters of uninterrupted earnings improvement, then led a management LBO of American Bakeries that was completed in 1986. Mr. Bewkes was the largest shareholder. The company remained private for two years until it was sold in December 1988.
Prior to joining American Bakeries, Mr. Bewkes was a senior officer of Norton Simon, Inc. He joined in 1967 as Vice President of Law and Administration at Canada Dry Corporation as that company was in the process of combining with McCall Corporation and Hunt Foods & Industries to form the conglomerate Norton Simon Inc. At Norton Simon, he served successively as vice president, senior vice president, executive vice president, and vice chairman. During that period he served as both chief operating officer and chief of staff. He also had direct operating responsibility at various times for McCall Printing Company, McCall Pattern Company, McCall Publishing Company, Hunt-Wesson Food Industries, Max Factor & Co., Somerset Importers Ltd., Canada Dry Corporation, and other smaller subsidiaries including Talent Associates, a Hollywood television production studio.
Admitted to the New York State Bar in 1952, Mr. Bewkes joined the firm of Chapman, Bryson, Walsh and O’Connell as an associate. In 1955 he took a leave of absence to become Attorney-Advisor and Assistant in the office of the Secretary of the Air Force. He served in the Eisenhower Administration for two years, then left to join the American Management Association in 1957 as division manager in the General Management Division. In 1961, Mr. Bewkes joined Reuben H. Donnelley in Chicago as assistant general counsel and upon its merger with Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. continued to serve in various capacities in both companies, including that of general counsel and sales vice president at R.H. Donnelley.
Mr. Bewkes is a widower, having lost his wife of more than 50 years, Marjorie Klenk Bewkes, in 2007. He is survived by their three sons Eugene Garrett Bewkes, Jeffrey Lawrence Bewkes, and Robert David Bewkes and nine grandchildren.
Mr. Bewkes resided in John’s Island, Vero Beach, Florida with his dear companion partner Ann Pettit Webber.