Bob Foote Obituary, Death : Robert “Bob” E. Foote, age 77, of Bucyrus, Kansas, passed away Friday, March 25, 2022, at his home surrounded by loved ones. Bob Foote was born in 1944. He lived a life full of ambition, risk, love, determination, and faith. We want to share a short reflection here with you about some of the moments in his life.
He began his cattle education as a young man early mornings in the milk barn on the small Foote Family Dairy Farm. He enjoyed music his entire life and loved listening to Elvis while milking. Inevitably his dad would come out to the barn and tune the radio to orchestra music. He eventually grew to appreciate this music as well!
Bob attended Wea Catholic Schools near Bucyrus, KS – his favorite teacher in High School was Sister Gregory whom Greg is named after her. She was tough and demanded that he push himself – this self-pressure would possibly become the best trait of his life. Bob loved his time playing basketball, and he credits his coach for a lot of his drive as well. Bob never moved far from home, but he certainly reminded his boys many times that his dad, Earl, told him that he had to push “further than the streets of Wea.” Bob took this to mean that he was meant for more.
Like many young men at the time, he spent a couple of years in the National Guard where he met many of his life-long friends. He really, really loved a lot of those guys. Greg mentioned that this was kind of his “college” experience.
Bob enjoyed his time after high school and the guard. He came home where Bob worked on the growing Foote Family Farm with his dad and brother Jim. It is safe to say they all had a bit of fun as well! Lots of stories have been told from this time and it clearly would have been an exciting time to know Bob and his friends. The next chapter of his life began in 1973, at 28 years old, when he met “the girl.”
Unknowingly, Bob and Gail attended a mutual friends’ wedding reception in Kansas City. The first things she noticed was his strong laugh. Initially Gail was turned away because of how smooth Bob was with the ladies, but was intrigued by his beaming confidence. Bob took a chance and asked her out. She flatly turned him down. It wasn’t until a year later that they accidentally bumped into one another again.
This time he convinced Gail to “take the risk.” Their first date was to a Royals game with his parents and three nuns. Gail was swept off her feet by Bob’s charm, wit, and just like in the beginning his strong laugh. Gail was officially sold after she was invited for a first birthday party for two of Bob’s nieces – he was great with the kids and had a beautifully fun and faith-filled family – from there on she was in for the ride.
Bob and Gail were married in 1975. Their honeymoon was spent in Colorado, and Bob made a point to tour some of the biggest cattle feeding operations in the country. This “honeymoon tour” gave Bob his goal of growing his future cattle business in this way.
An exciting chapter of Bob and Gail’s life began when their first child Scott was born in 1976, followed by Brad in 1977 and Colleen in 1979. Colleen had a rough start with several surgeries as an infant. This experience brought Bob and Gail closer together and created a special bond with Colleen.
She has had a special place in their heart ever since. In 1987 Greg was born. As Greg was growing up, Bob often claimed that he cloned Greg. He tried to take this claim back a few times, but it was too late!
One of the most pivotal moments in Bob’s life was on Thanksgiving Day, 1982 at 36 years old. This is the day that Bob took his last drink. Bob would credit this to saving his family and making his business. Gail often said that Bob took all of the energy he was putting into drinking and recommitted all of it to his business. This would be a pivotal moment in Bob’s life.
In 1985, Bob and Gail decided to begin their own business. They started Foote Cattle Company.
Bob loved cattle. He knew how to find a good one, but more importantly, he knew a bad one. Bob loved negotiation and was the best at it. I cannot emphasize enough how much he loved the game of business and negotiation. These traits proved to work well together and became the foundation for his business career!
He started his cattle career trading dairy and beef cows and calves out of the back of a two-ton truck with stock racks. He would see some for sale “worth the chips” in the Sunday Kansas City paper and he would go try to make a deal. Bob’s negotiation skills and cattle eye were sharpened during these early trades.
As his young business matured, Bob changed his ways from cattle “trading” to cattle “buying”. He was clearly the best in our industry at this. Bob began buying country cattle and attending local auctions. Bob loved a good cattle auction and a great auctioneer. On Wednesdays he could always be found in the seats at the St. Joe, MO Stockyards – he had a dedicated phone line that rang right to his seat…many, many cattle deals were made from that seat.
Bob, in fact, bought the last set of cattle that ever traded at this historic stockyards when it closed in 2021. He developed a customer base selling cattle to feeders in Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas. Who knows how many times a check was floating around waiting for another one to come in and cover it!
One day in 1989, at the Kansas City Stockyards, Bob bought three loads of good, thin steers worth the money. He had begun to develop a friendship with Wayne Tilly over the past few years in the seats at the auction.
Wayne asked Bob what he planned to do with those three loads of steers and Bob responded “I’m going to pick up the phone and try to sell them.” Wayne convinced Bob that they should partner on this set and send them to the feedyard and feed them out instead. This was the beginning of a great partnership between Bob and Wayne.
Bob and Wayne continued partnering on cattle from there forward. After a few years they were feeding so many that they decided they should consider buying their own feedlot together. After a search that took a couple of years, in 1997 they bought Hoxie Feedyard. Scott moved to Hoxie in 1997 and he credits this move away from home as a gift from his dad – pushing him out of the nest! We lost Wayne suddenly in 2000, he was dad’s best friend.
In 2004, after we lost Colleen, Brad and Wayne’s daughter, Linsey, fell in love and brought back together our two families. It was a special moment for all of us!
We bought the ranch near Manhattan in 2003. Colleen really loved the rolling hills and green grass on the ranch. He and his boys have bought several farms and ranches since – Bob loved buying a good farm and making it better.
Over the next years Bob and his boys worked to grow the business. We bought Imperial Beef and Brad moved to Imperial, NE in 2007. Lane County Feeders, Pioneer Feedyard, and Decatur County Beef came into our family company over the following years.
We have had many other interesting business adventures over all of these years, including purchasing a bank in 2019. Bob and his family have always stayed aggressive and more importantly BULLISH. This positive attitude is truly a big key to Bob’s success in business and life. Our business “motto” given to us by him was “GET IT” – always reminding us to keep pushing and moving forward!
Bob always loved corn planting and harvest season. He would spend many hours with his nephew, Jim, talking about the farm – he was very proud of the farm and Jim. The 2021 corn harvest was Jim’s best and Bob spent a couple of hours riding in the combine – this was a highlight of Bob’s last year.
He also loved good equipment, hard-working truck drivers, and driving through any of the feedyards looking at a good pen of fat cattle while judging the feeder cattle buyer. He spent a lot of time with Gail, Scott, Brad, and Greg looking over cattle this way. Spending time at the feedyards was his vacation time. Bob’s older grandsons were blessed to get the chance to spend quite a bit of time with grandpa doing this – a lot of lessons and memories that they need to cherish.
If you were a buyer who worked for Bob you had better be smart, honest, quick-thinking, and willing to take a damn good butt chewing. He was quick to praise good work but never let a celebration get in the way of the next move. A lot of guys sold cattle to Bob over the years.
The ones that lasted had a lot of energy and work-ethic and knew what one was worth. Many of these deals were done with the assistance of his “right hand” Carrie. It was well known by all that to get to Bob, you had to go through her. Many of us would poke him a bit and call him “The Master.” He gave out a lot of nicknames and it was fitting to give him one as well!
One thing that made Bob and our entire family proud is the Foote Cattle Company brand. The “F” brand was registered by Bob in 1985 for use on his cattle. It has become so much more to us. This is our family logo and what we like to think of as a symbol of a growing and a strong business. We want our employees, friends, family and people that we do business with to be proud of this brand – and proud to do business with our family.
Bob loved having fun with everyone he was around. He really enjoyed watching and attending a good football game. He clearly loved going to the Chiefs and Kansas State games! After Scott and Brad moved west and Greg was back home, many of the family fun times were spent on football game weekends in Manhattan. Bob was proud that his oldest grandchild went to school at Notre Dame – Andrew attending this strong Catholic University gave Bob a lot of joy.
One thing that Bob had a lot of fun with and took big pride in over the years was his conservative and Catholic values. He, of course, loved the game of business – but he also really enjoyed the game of politics. He closely followed the news of our nation and engaged in political discussions, or rather, gave patented Bob Foote lectures! Bob attended several Republican events and supported many great candidates over the years. He was a staunch conservative and firmly pro-life. He was a patriot!
Bob’s faith was honestly the most important thing in his life and became the foundation for his teachings to Scott, Brad, Colleen, and Greg and then to his grandkids. He truly worked to do business with faith in his mind and held the strong belief that his GOD given talent was doing business. He knew that it was his duty as a good, Catholic man to fully use the talents that GOD gave him to the best of his ability each and every day.
Bob expected his family, and all he knew, to live in this same manner. Using your talents and making your daily work a living prayer, as he did, is such a wonderful way to improve your life and the lives of those around you.
Bob and Gail, Scott, Brad, and Greg lost Colleen suddenly in May of 2004 at 24 years old. This loss obviously created a lot of sorrow in the family – it was truly amazing how Bob and Gail transformed this tragedy into a fantastic positive for family growth.
The strength of our family became even stronger with having Colleen in heaven to watch over us all. Bob mentioned many times that Colleen “pulled us out of a trap” when we had some tough business times, which we certainly have. We are thankful that Colleen has been up there for us, and even more thankful that she has Dad with her now.
Many employees work with us every day at our companies. There are nearly 400 people working alongside of our family every day. He was very proud of people on our team that worked hard and took great care to do their job to the best of their ability. He liked it when things were kept nice and clean – he wouldn’t stand for a worn out or messy operation. He liked people to look good and take pride in their work.
We want all of our people to know that we will continue what he started and make it continue to better so we can make him proud of all of us. Bob was driven to work harder when he knew that he was alongside of others who were putting in a great effort. Our family is so grateful to have so many good people on our team.
Bob also has many friends that are still here with us. These friends will remain close to our family and will always hold a very special place in our hearts. These friends continue to do business with Scott, Brad, and Greg and we are planning on expanding the great business that he started.
Bob leaves here on earth his wife Gail. Scott and his wife, Michelle, and their five children Andrew, a sophomore in college, and Molly who will be attending college with her big brother next year at Notre Dame. Charlie, Max, and Mary Colleen all attend school in Hoxie, KS. Brad and Linsey live in Imperial, NE and their three children Harrison, Tilly, and London are in Junior High and Grade School in Imperial.
Greg and Laura and their three boys – the twins Henry and Colin – and Beau all live near home and go to Grade School in Overland Park.
Bob joins in heaven many other family members. Most notably his daughter, Colleen, and his parents Earl and Dorothy (Scheer), and his brother Jim.
Left here with us are his Sisters Dorothy Jo Gessler, Wally Foote, and Rose Marie Guetterman and his nephew Jim, along with many other extended family members.
Our family would ask that you take a minute and go our website – www.footecattle.com – and leave a story about Bob. He has had interaction with so many people and we want to capture all of these memories that we can. No need for a long tale, but a special remembrance of yours would be appreciated by us.
We would ask you to please join us for Bob’s Rosary Wake and Funeral Mass at his home parish – Queen of the Holy Rosary at Wea in Bucyrus, KS. We also ask you to stay after his Mass for lunch with our family.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, March 29, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 22779 Metcalf Ave, Bucyrus, KS 66013. The rosary will be prayed prior to the visitation at 3:30 p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial will be Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at 10:30 a.m. at Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic School Gymnasium, 22705 Metcalf Ave, Bucyrus, KS.
Burial is to follow at Holy Rosary Cemetery.
Memorial contributions in Bob’s memory may be made to Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic School c/o Dengel & Son Mortuary, PO Box 669, Louisburg, KS 66053.
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