Restaurant founder ‘Bubba’ Christian dies

Published 5:35 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Richard F. Christian III’s legacy is in the hearts and taste buds of family, friends and the community.

Christian, also known by his nickname “Bubba,” was half of the founding duo of Bubba-N-Frank’s Smokehouse restaurant. He died unexpectedly on Nov. 30, the restaurant announced on social media the following day. Christian was 60 years old and passed away due to an apparent heart attack, according to an obituary published by the family.

“It is with broken hearts that we share the news of the sudden passing last night of half of Bubba-N-Frank’s,” the business said on Facebook. “Richard F. Christian III aka ‘Bubba’ was a husband of 38 years, a father to six children and grandpa of two grandkids, a praise and worship leader, a brother to four siblings, a son-in-law and brother-in-law, uncle, cousin, nephew and friend to many people. He lived out his teenage dream, to have his own restaurant and he will watch over his dream from Heaven.”

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Along with business partner Frank Parrish, Christian opened the first Bubba-N-Frank’s in 2008 in Isle of Wight County. The business has since grown to four locations in Hampton, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach. The news of his passing was met with an immediate outpouring of grief and expressions of love for his loved ones, and words of appreciation for Christian’s culinary talents.

“What a tremendous loss for family and friends. My prayers offered to Bubba’s family,” one person wrote on social media in response to the announcement. “We are so sorry to hear this,” another said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. May he Rest In Peace. God bless him, his family and friends.”

Christian was born in Richmond on Dec. 23, 1959. He grew up in New Kent County. He was the eldest of five children and is survived by his siblings Deirdre, Keith, Kevin and NaTasha.

He graduated from New Kent High School and joined the Army as a cook. While stationed in Germany, Christian met his wife, Sgt. Gail E. Horn, in the line in the dining facility. Christian went on to earn a degree in hotel and restaurant institutional management from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. He is also survived by his wife and six children: Shawn, Seth, Leah, Jonah, Rebekah and Sophia, and two grandchildren. All of his children work in the family business.

“I love you Dad! Always and forever,” son Seth Christian wrote on his Facebook page. “You taught me everything I knew. For all six of us you were always an example. Thank you for being that for us. I just wish I had one more day with you.”

A celebration of life for Richard Franklin Christian III was held on Dec. 5 at Victory Life Church in Hampton. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations in Richard’s name to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

“My heart is deeply saddened over your loss!,” Martha Dunn wrote on Facebook in response to the announcement of Christian’s passing. “We will be praying for his family during this very hard time! Thank you Bubba for your kindness and generosity. Oh and for all that awesome BBQ you have shared with our community!!!! Watch out — I bet God has a special smoker lined up for you to be in charge of in Heaven!!!”