Born April 12, 1919 in Birmingham, Ala., Cy Bahakel graduated from the University of Alabama and served in the U.S. Army in San Antonio, Tex. After a leg injury that confined him temporarily to Brooks General Hospital, he remained in San Antonio to serve as a newscaster.
After short stints at WBRC-Birmingham and WJRD in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Bahakel abandoned a three-month law practice and made a move to Kosciusko, Miss., where he bought his first radio station with a partner, Mims Boswell, whom he later bought out.
From 1947 to today, Bahakel has continued a growth pattern for his broadcast magnate, which spans the Rockies to the Atlantic Coast with radio and television. He recently sold his cable division to invest more heavily in television.
In addition to his successful broadcast career, Mr. Bahakel served as a deacon and Sunday School teacher in Roanoke, Va., and was a much sought after speaker, having gained his skill from the University of Alabama debate team.
From 1972-1976 he served in the North Carolina Senate for two terms. He was unopposed for his third term when he chose not to run.
Mr. Bahakel, along with a group of savvy investors, began the Bank of Mecklenburg in the 1980's which today has merged with RBC Centura.
He was also a founding partner of the Charlotte Hornets, and through his vision and contribution, made it possible for pro sports to begin a successful stint in Charlotte.
It was Beverly Boyd Bahakel, whom he met and married in Kosciusko, Miss., who was his greatest achievement and asset. He would later credit her for the vision of his key growth, especially the move of the company headquarters, to the growing city of Charlotte in 1963. It was Charlotte which was the springboard for the dynamic growth witnessed by Bahakel Communications today.
In addition to his wife, Beverly Boyd Bahakel, Cy Bahakel is survived by his children, Beverly Poston and her husband, Steve, Suzanne Pittenger and her husband, Robert, Merribeth Crouch, Cy N. Bahakel, Jr., Amy Wheeler and her husband, Marc, and Stephen Bahakel.
Also surviving are his brother, Izas Bahakel and his wife, Renee; and his grandchildren, Robert Pittenger, Jr. and his wife, Jodi, Natalie Kilts and her husband, James, Amy Elizabeth Pittenger, John David Crouch and Grace Pittenger.