Christopher James Avery
March 25, 1942 to February 5, 2018
Christoper James Avery passed away unexpectedly due to heart failure on February 5, 2018 at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, California.
Chris was born in Berkeley, California on March 25, 1942 to Constance Iola Hannah and Leslie Hart Avery at Alta Bates Hospital.
As a young boy, he found ways to entertain himself on the streets of Berkeley, putting pennies on the streetcar tracks on Shattuck Avenue, hanging out at the Berkeley Public Library, putting cherry bombs into mailboxes, reading comic books, torturing his younger sister Carolyn, and generally being up to no good.
In addition to his playful side, he was also an accomplished cellist and later developed a love for guitar and banjo. He was also fascinated by the Cyclotron and wrote about it for an elementary school paper, and developed a lifelong love of science fiction (which he later passed on to his elder daughter).
Chris graduated from Berkeley High School in 1960, with a passion for engineering and chemistry.
He followed in his parents’ footsteps and attended UC Berkeley, where he studied Chemical Engineering as an undergrad, completing a Bachelor of Science degree in January of 1964. He then continued at Cal to complete an Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, and to study Business at a graduate level with an emphasis in Finance, though he didn’t complete the MBA, eschewing it in favor of getting out into the real world of business as quickly as possible.
UC Berkeley was where he met his future wife, Linda Larssen, in 1961. As the story goes, he picked her out of a crowd at the youth group meeting they were both attending, telling his buddy, “No, forget it. I have dibs on her,” to stake his claim. Apparently, it was a done deal from there. They were married in Woodland Hills, California in 1965 on June 12.
Together, Chris and Linda had two daughters, Jennifer, born in 1968, and Rachel, born in 1971.
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.
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 — they styled themselves as “Curl, Kiss, and Fank” — with the band called “The McCloud River Trio” (name made up on the spot at their first gig, as legend has it).
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.
His many years of traveling led to a great many experiments in the kitchen; he was inspired to recreate the many flavors he experienced abroad in India and China in particular. He even developed something of a penchant for challenging friends and strangers alike to hot sauce duels, which to hear him tell it, he always won.
In 1998, he set up a temporary discussion board for Cal football fans when his go-to discussion board was down for a couple of weeks. He called it Cyberbears.org. It grew in popularity and became the favorite website for fans, and eventually evolved into the Bear Insider, which became a home for many Cal sports fans on the web. Under his purview, the Bear Insider published a sports magazine and articles on the web, and hosted local events for fans, alongside its extensive discussion boards and games. He was known there fondly as “GreyBear.” He ultimately sold the Bear Insider in 2017 to pass on his legacy for others to enjoy.
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.
Chris’s death comes as the result of a years-long struggle with self-care and well-being. His family mourns his too-soon loss.
Chris is survived by his wife Linda, his sister Carolyn, his daughters Jennifer and Rachel, his sons-in-law James and Brett, and his three grandchildren, Cameron Avery, Everett, and Colton, who know him as “Bear.”
A celebration of Chris’s life for his family and friends will be held in late spring or early summer.