Bruce Randolph Jr., a fixture in Boulder as the owner of Daddy Bruce’s Bar-B-Que for three decades, died May 1. He was 94.

Randolph Jr. bought a restaurant named Uncle Joe’s Plantation on the corner of Arapahoe Avenue and 20th Street in 1980, renaming it Daddy Bruce’s Bar-B-Que in honor of the original Daddy Bruce: his father, the late Bruce Randolph.

Randolph Jr. ran the landmark Boulder eatery for three decades before selling about 10 years ago and retiring at age 85, saying he made the decision because business was starting to slow. He was a fixture at the restaurant, telling stories, doling out advice and playing the piano.

One of his favorite stories was how, while working at a barbershop in Denver, he once cut Martin Luther King Jr.’s hair. Others centered on the places he traveled, and many  revolved around his late father, who was famous for using his Denver restaurant to help feed the homeless.

“He was a great story teller,” said Randolph Jr.’s oldest daughter, Phylis Armour. “He always had something to tell.”

In an oral history interview for Boulder’s Carnegie Library, Randolph said his favorite activities outside of running his restaurant included attending services at Second Baptist Church, studying the Bible and playing piano.

John Lehndorff, former food editor at the Daily Camera, said he would often find Randolph playing music while someone else manned the counter when he would stop in for a plate of barbecue at the cozy restaurant.

“He wanted a simpler life than his dad, to make some barbecue, play music and make people happy,” he said, adding Randolph would never turn away someone who was hungry and needed a meal.

On Boulder Facebook pages, people responded to the news of his death by remembering how much they loved both Randolph’s barbecue and his kindness. One woman said he would let her help clean the restaurant when she was broke and hungry, then give her “the best meal I would have that week.”

Randolph was born in 1927 in Texas, then moved to Arkansas with his father to be closer to family after his mother died. He moved to Denver in 1954 for a job as a barber. He also served as an associate minister at Boulder’s Second Baptist Church.

Armour said she kept her promise that he could stay in Colorado as he got older, though it meant flying to see him monthly from her home in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“He loved Colorado,” she said. “He loved the Rocky Mountains. The one thing he chose to do was live his life his way.”

​She also promised to add a spoon to his casket while teasing him about his habit of hoarding the silverware. She said he started keeping spoons in his pockets so he would always have one ready to eat the vanilla ice cream that he loved. He died at the Holly Heights Nursing Home in Denver, not long after he was hospitalized following a fall at his home, she said.

“We’re going to miss him,” she said. “He was a great man. He always considered others. He measured his words. A lot of people confided in him, and they could trust that it would be kept in confidence.”

Randolph was preceded in death by two children and is survived by five children.

Services will be held May 17 at Boulder’s Second Baptist Church, 5300 Baseline Road. Viewing is from 10 to 11:30 a.m., while a homegoing service immediately follows. Final arrangements will be handled by Darrell-Howe Mortuary.

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