Chris Avery: A Sturdy Golden Bear to the End

March 14, 2018
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Last year saw a passing of the torch from the founding publisher of Bear Insider, Chris Avery, to new publisher Greg Richardson with the sale of the website in July 2017. And now more recently, Avery, known to countless thousands of Bear fans as GreyBear, went to meet the sturdy Golden Bear in the sky, passing away after a series of physical struggles in recent years. He passed away in the same hospital he was born in on March 25, 1942 in Berkeley's Alta Bates Hospital.

Raised in Berkeley, Chris went on to graduate from Berkeley High School in 1960 and did both his undergraduate and graduate studies at Cal, as had so many of his relatives before him, graduating with a BS and MS in Chemical Engineering. His parents, Constance Iola Hannah Avery and Leslie Hart Avery, also attended and met at Cal in the 30s and were married on January 13, 1940 in Berkeley.  And Avery's Great Aunt Claire Adelaide Healy Hartley graduated from the University of California in May 1909 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, before it became known as UC Berkeley.

Bear Insider
Avery strolls through Sproul Plaza in mid-60's as a student with lunch packed by wife Linda

Chris met his wife Linda (Larssen) in their freshman year at Cal at a campus ministry meeting, calling "dibs" on his future wife when pointing her out to a friend also in attendance. They were later married in 1965 in Woodland Hills, CA. Later came daughters Jennifer and Rachel as well as son-in-laws James and Brett and grandchildren, Cameron Avery, Everett and Colton.

Shortly after Rachel’s birth, Chris ventured off to India to launch his first of many enterprises and international adventures. A serial entrepreneur and early programmer, Chris was forever developing new and intriguing business ventures and escapades designed to both entertain and profit. 

Bear Insider
Chris and Linda Avery at wedding in 1965

Chris was a worldwide traveler, a musician, and deep lover of nature. He grew up visiting Mineral King, California, a precious gem of nature in the highest reaches of the Sierra Nevada, honoring the traditions begun by his great-grandfather Edwin Finley Hart, who took his daughter Elizabeth Rebecca Hart there as a girl. She was Chris’s paternal grandmother. In 1956, she purchased a cabin in the small mountain valley for her descendants. Chris carried on the family practice of bringing his own family to Mineral King every summer. It was one of his favorite places on Earth. 

As an adult, Chris continued to play cello and guitar, and spent many evenings playing folk songs around the campfire on his guitar with friends and family. He would periodically regale his family with tales of his nights playing gigs with two buddies in their band called “The McCloud River Trio.”

Chris built many quiet friendships and connections over his years. Across his explorations in wine and beer-making, traveling, studying politics, hiking in nature, running, cooking, and following sports (especially Cal sports), he connected with many kindred spirits, and had an impact on many lives.

In 2000, he and Linda purchased a property on the foothills of Mount Eddy near Mount Shasta, with the dream of creating a second Mineral King-like destination for their own extended family, much in the vein of his grandmother Elizabeth’s vision. 

Bear Insider
Chris and family at Sawtooth Pass

The genesis of Bear Insider was a Cal sports newsletter that saw many of the recipients join Cal's Fans Only website in the mid-90's. When the site went down for two weeks, Chris -at the time a web programer and website builder- decided to take the opportunity to start a website of his own where Cal fans could gather and share their passion for their Golden Bears, and Cyberbears.org was born on September 3, 1998.

The site thrived and saw continual growth in those early years, eventually moving to the Scout.com network for five years, where the site was rebranded as Bear Insider, then to the ESPN network in 2008. Eventually the site went back to being independent and is currently a part of a publishing group of dozens of Power 5 program websites throughout the country..

The legacy that Chris left with countless Cal fans though the Bear Insider community is profound. Over the past 20 years, the site has been the Cal cyber version of Cheers, where everyone knows your name. 

People have come and gone from the site over the years, yet many remain as big a part as ever of the great community that our very own GreyBear built with his vision and passion for his Cal Bears.

His legacy will never be forgotten.

A sturdy Golden Bear he will forever be.

Bear Insider

Discussion from...

Chris Avery: A Sturdy Golden Bear to the End

socaliganbear
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So sad ">


rip Chris
MinotStateBeav
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Oh man terrible news. Sorry for the loss to his family and friends. I only knew him through this Cal website but he was always a fair person in regards to how people were treated on this website. RIP Greybear
GMP
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Aw geeze. Sad news. RIP GreyBear. Very thankful that he created this great community.
orindabear74
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Chris was a great Cal Bear who will be missed.
parentswerebears
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Thanks, Chris.
Cal Junkie
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RIP to Chris Avery. I remember meeting him in the old Cyberbears.org days at a Cal coaches staff meeting with the movers and shakers of the Cal community. I also wrote a few articles for this web site well back in the day (mid-2000s) including profiling Tarik Glenn (of the Indianapolis Colts) and Kelechi Anyanwu (thrower from Cal) among others. It was always a pleasure to interact with him. He will be greatly missed.
MoragaBear
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It was Chris's vision to always have vibrant free boards in addition to our subscriber board, no matter what the competition was doing, and we're committed to maintaining that vision.

It was great working with Chris for those 14 years and he'll be greatly missed by many.
71Bear
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MoragaBear said:

It was Chris's vision to always have vibrant free boards in addition to our subscriber board, no matter what the competition was doing, and we're committed to maintaining that vision.

It was great working with Chris for those 14 years and he'll be greatly missed by many.
Indeed. I worked with Chris for a number of years here at BI and on the magazine. We had many memorable conversations over coffee about the website and Cal sports. My condolences to his family.......
TheSouseFamily
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Very sad news. Though I was never fortunate enough to meet GreyBear, I have tremendous appreciation and respect for GreyBear for having a true passion project involving bringing like-minded people together and making it happen. This community is a great legacy to that noble intention and I'm sure he's thrilled to see it live on. And thanks to Greg and everyone else on the staff for picking up the torch and carrying it forward.
burritos
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RIP Greybear.
KoreAmBear
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Greybear, our George Washington. Only time I met him was at he Insight Bowl at the Cal gathering where I met other BearInsiders before the game. Thank you for setting up a network where I have met many lifelong friends and one of the things in life I have enjoyed for decades now.

Please implore God to let the Bears get to a Rose Bowl. Rest in peace my man.
Sebastabear
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Very sorry to hear this news. I knew his health had been in decline for a while, but am still deeply saddened by his passing. I know we haven't made it to the promised land yet, but Chris helped get us close. I hope all his hopes for Cal and BI get fulfilled soon.
BearGreg
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I knew Chris for almost twenty years and his kindness, his quiet sense of humor and his love for all things Cal will never be forgotten.

He and this site touched ten's of thousands of people and made their lives fuller and richer. I'm proud to continue that legacy.
OdontoBear66
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RIP Chris....A job well done....Going back in time to Cyberbears brings great memories and so much information about the Cal we come together on. Only met once on Kleeberger Field with the pre game festivities. A big, big thank you, and rest in peace.
grumpybear
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I was an early member of the Cyber Bears. Thank you Chris for creating a great Legacy.
Unit2Sucks
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Sorry to hear this news, but it was a touching article. Thanks for the message Jim and RIP Chris.
B.A. Bearacus
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RIP Chris.
Rushinbear
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God be with him and his family.
Blueblood
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"I'm sadden by the loss of
two friends."


My deepest condolences to Chris' family.

IIRC, Chris surprised me by seeking me out over the internet with his idea for Cyberbears in 1997.
I returned the surprise by sitting down next to him (at a Cal football function) and while not looking
at him said, "Hi Grey, I'm Blueblood." I don't think he believed me at first.

You'll have to excuse me because I also mourn the loss of Stephen who I met while I was grad student
at Queens' College, Cambridge University.

At the onset, both, in their personal ways , were recognized by me to be very special people.

I was lucky to have met both.



TomBear
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"Our sturdy Golden Bear, is watching from the sky......" So sorry to hear this.
Larno
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I met Chris on several occasions, the last time at a banquet in Modesto where Jeff Tedford was the guest speaker. I pointed out Paul Larson to him, so he had a chance to meet a boyhood hero. A great man, he will be missed.
ddc_Cal
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Very sorry to hear.

Deepest condolences to his family.
Calfans
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I feel such deep sadness that Chris passed away. He was a great friend for over 20 years. From Fansonly where we "met", CyberBears.ORG, GoCyberBears, Scout, ESPN, back to being Independent BearInsider, we were together making the website a special gathering place for Cal fans. I've made so many friends here.

I learned so much from my "Chief". Thousands of emails were exchanged over the years. He gave me a lot of responsibility at the website and it was a labor of love to make the site the best we could. I was first named the Link LIbrarian because I had gathered so many Cal related links. Chris taught me how to make web pages and Calfans Links became part of the site. When he needed a little nudging, I'd send an e-nag to him. When posters Contacted Us, if it was something I couldn't handle, Chris would take care of the problem.

Chris wrote so much Software! The original CyberBear boards, publishing system, BearPlay, sign-up for the Recruiting meetings with nametags automatically made, CyberBear buttons, he was always working on something. Who remembers the GoCyberBears banner that was hung in Palo Alto for Big Game and at the Insight Bowl?

The website has been my home for all these years. I feel such a great loss. There is a hole in my heart. Chris will be missed. I am glad the site will live on.

My deepest sympathy to Chris' family. I will keep in touch with them

Our Sturdy GreyBear is watching from the sky



Cal-i-for-nia. (Clap, Clap)(Clap, Clap, Clap)

MoragaBear
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For those that missed the slideshow tribute added later to the story, here it is:

PRD74
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Thank you Chris for being an important part of my life since August 1999. Loved that he had in his profile, Interests: Timber Harvesting in Palo Alto.
TandemBear
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What a great Bear! RIP Chris Avery.
Berzerker1
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RIP GrayBear. Your legacy lives on both here and through your children and grandchildren. I have "known" you through this wonderful site since its inception. You created and nurtured this diverse and intelligent family of Bear fans. You will be missed.
CalWSportsFan
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I was fortunate meet Chris a few years ago. A great guy and wonderful Bear. My thoughts go out to all those who loved him. He will be missed.
Bears2thDoc
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Sorry to hear this.
Great Bear
RIP Greybear
Looperbear
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RIP Greybear. Thanks for the article Jim.
RJABear
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Sad to hear the news. Rest in peace, Chris.

I first met Chris way back in the CyberBears days. I made the mistake of using .com instead of .org. As many of you know, cyberbears.com is NSW. Chris spoke to my employer's corporate systems admin person and may have saved my job.
NewYorkCityBear
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Truly a Great Golden Bear.
BigAlfromCal
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I am so sad to hear this. My thoughts, prayers, and condolences go to his family. GreyBear will be missed by all Cal fans, for he contributed much to the Cal community and the Spirit of Cal.

God be with you, Chris, and Go Bears!
Cal8285
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I will always remain amazed at how, when GreyBear told the Cal board at FansOnly that he was starting his own board, everyone went over to CyberBears. I mean EVERYONE. FansOnly was THE Cal board, and all of a sudden, it was a ghost town. Occasionally someone would post to say, "Where has everyone gone?" or someone would actually post substance, thinking they would get a response. Someone would pop in to say, "Everyone is over at CyberBears."

It was a sign of the respect that all the "mainstream" posters had for Chris that this was able to happen. He was a great Golden Bear. RIP.
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