If you knew Bruce Barefoot, you were lucky enough to know one of Virginia Beach’s true characters.

After years of working at the grain elevators in Norfolk after graduating from Bayside High, he finally realized a lifelong dream and opened Footer’s Sports Pub.

Over 30-some years, the business grew and along with it his reputation as a serious sports fan, generous “give-you-the-shirt-off-his-back” kind of guy, diehard Elvis fan, talented pool player and a person with a somewhat strange sense of humor.

He ran one of the most unique “one-call-does-all” catering businesses in the area that provided anything imaginable. If you wanted something special at your event, he would go to all lengths to make it happen.

Few called him by his full name.

He was Footer, sometimes Foots.

He was also one of the true great friends in my life.

He passed away Saturday morning.

He will be sorely missed by a ton of people throughout the region.

You might ask why I’d be writing about him on a hunting and fishing website. Here was a guy who was a talented athlete during his day and a huge supporter of local athletics.

He wasn’t known for any kind of outdoors prowess.

I would have written this anyway, but over the last several years, he started to show a real interest in fishing – often wetting a line at a small pond on Knott’s Island where his girlfriend owned a cottage. He was usually joined by Harvey Caldwell and Jay Smith, sometimes by myself.

The four of us last spent a few hours there on a warm October day. Bruce caught the bass in the picture – a fish that remarkably grew in size as soon as he released it.

Pretty sure it was a 10-pounder by the time he got home.

Yep, he was showing real promise of becoming a true angler.

As I write this on a tear-soaked keyboard, the memories of years gone by – the softball tournament trips, partying in Vegas and at the bar, the physical basketball and volleyball games when we were much younger, just shooting the breeze over a cold one, playing cut-throat at the bar into the wee hours of the morning – are all screaming through my mind.

A lot of people are really struggling with this one.

So long dear friend, our little part of the planet is not going to be the same without you.

12 Comments

  • Stephen Jennings
    Posted December 20, 2020 2:53 pm 0Likes

    Damn, lost another member of The Blues softball team. Hell of a nice guy, he will be missed.

  • Roger L. Waisanen
    Posted December 20, 2020 3:32 pm 0Likes

    I was one to share humor with Bruce. He often hissed and booed(jokingly) at many of my attempts at humor. However, I will miss him for more that that. He was a great man to talk to as well. I looked forward to seeing him on my visits. Sadly, I will just have to live with the memories.
    Footer, you showed us how to live life and how to share. Wear your wings proudly and soar on high! We who know you, love you and miss you.

  • Melissa Provo
    Posted December 20, 2020 3:55 pm 0Likes

    God Speed Bruce❤️ That smile was so infectious to me….God Bless

  • Charlie
    Posted December 20, 2020 4:25 pm 0Likes

    Great article
    Great friend
    He will be missed

  • Travis Blake
    Posted December 20, 2020 6:07 pm 0Likes

    He was one of the best friends I ever had just like a brother

  • Rick Belangia “Five alive”
    Posted December 20, 2020 6:41 pm 0Likes

    Very well said Lee.. I’ve known Footer a long time, through softball and “Footers”. He was everything you said. He will be missed.❤️🙏🏻

  • Sheila minnich
    Posted December 20, 2020 7:30 pm 0Likes

    Bruce was a great person . Hard working and will be greatly missed.

  • Jackie Dunbar
    Posted December 20, 2020 11:14 pm 0Likes

    Footer was a big hearted person who loved others and did what he could to help them no matter what.

  • Edward Hendrix
    Posted December 21, 2020 1:15 am 0Likes

    I played baseball with Bruce in Aragona/Pembroke little league. That kid swung a big bat. I’d stop by Footers from time to time to say hello. Live just down the street. Sad to hear he passed.

  • Tim
    Posted December 21, 2020 6:03 pm 0Likes

    There is/was not a Human Being then Brucee.Wil surely Miss Him
    Thanx Lee

    • Tim
      Posted December 21, 2020 6:04 pm 0Likes

      ABetter Human Being

  • Capps Creek
    Posted December 22, 2020 7:24 pm 4Likes

    Thanks Renee for bringing the “Big Toe” and his inspiring giving world down to us here on the island. I feel honored but at the same time cheated to have only known Bruce for 5 years. He truely lived to care about people and not himself. He made life easier for all around him (Except Charlie) and inspired all of us to do the same.
    Bruce I hope your Path to heaven is lined with Home Plates,Pool Cues,Chili cook off shirts and a buckets full of 10Lb bass stories….. Your company and influences will be forever cherished…….Make sure you have your pole ready and lucky fishing hat on next time I see you…… I’ll have the minnows and a net

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