Celebrating the Life of ‘Daddy’ Bruce Randolph

“The time is always right to do what is right.”— Martin Luther King

Denver’s ‘Daddy’ Bruce Randolph (1900-1994) was known for his kindness, generosity and serving an annual Thanksgiving dinner for homeless and disadvantaged people. He did that for 50 years.

In the late-1960s, ‘Daddy’ Bruce began feeding people for free in Denver’s City Park on Thanksgiving Day. By the mid-1980s, tens of thousands lined up outside Daddy Bruce’s B-B-Q restaurant for his holiday fare. He lived in a simple, sparsely furnished apartment above the restaurant.

Mary Farace’s portrait of “Daddy” Bruce was made in a corner of his restaurant and used only the natural light coming through a doorway. To put Mr. Randolph at ease, no attempt was made to use fill flash or even a reflector. She was only able to make a few exposures before he was whisked away to a ceremony changing the name of a Denver street to Bruce Randolph Boulevard.

“I’ve seen a lot of water go over the dam,” Randolph said at a 92nd birthday celebration. In 1993 Daddy Bruce hung up his apron, admitting he was tired. Penniless, he died in his sleep in 1994.

I never got to meet Daddy Bruce or even have lunch with him at his restaurant as Mary was lucky enough to do, but his example was a strong one to me and is why I sponsor the annual portfolio review for charity with all of the proceeds going to fee the homeless during the holidays.

Author: Joe Farace

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