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Chris Avery: A Sturdy Golden Bear to the End

March 14, 2018

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 was born on September 3, 1998.

The site thrived and saw continual growth in those early years, eventually moving to the 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

51,243 Views | 43 Replies | Last: 3 yr ago by Bear8
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Really sorry to hear of Chris Avery's passing. RIP to a great Golden Bear, and my condolences to his friends and family.
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RIP Greybear. Your legacy is well established and will go on for a long time.
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Rest in Peace Chris
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Terrible news. RIP, GreyBear. :'-(
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I am so sad to see this news confirmed. This is a solemn occasion for anyone who ever posted in the online Cal message boards at FANS Only, CyberBears.Org, or BearInsider, or the old GoBears email list. GreyBear changed the way we interacted and supported our favorite team, and he gave us the chance to create a colorful, extensive, amazing, dysfunctional, fully functional, diverse, and very Berkeley community.

I greatly appreciated meeting you, Mr. Avery (and you will always be Mr. Avery to me, as I say that to show deference and respect to you) at Kips about 20 years ago to watch Justin Vedder and Cal play against the Huskies in Seattle. I didn't have much of a filter when posting online back then. But unlike some others at the time, you were gracious, respectful, and warm to me in person. For that, I will always have a large deal of loyalty and respect for you, your work in creating this community, and your love for Cal.

Rest In Peace.

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I'm just learning of this news and am very saddened by it. I met Chris a few times in person and found him to be a very sweet man.

Chris - thank you for everything you did for our California Golden Bears. You will be dearly missed.
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I likely posted on this before, but Chris was a visionary on several different fronts, and in BI he founded and fostered a site that was as much about dialog, as content. i knew Chris both personally and professionally and mourn his loss. My best to his family. Thanks Jim for the stirring tribute.
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Well said, WAIF. I echo your sentiment.
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