Our beautiful and beloved Bear died January 14, 2010 with his wife, daughter and dear friends at his side. Brain aneurysms and a series of strokes over three years finally overcame his enormous zest for life.
Loving father and husband, loyal friend, consummate musician, wine aficionado, community-builder, and protector of our Earth, Bear was born of Cherokee, Scot, and Russian Jewish heritage in San Mateo, CA on December 17, 1956. He was adopted at age one week by Barnard and Constance nee MacDonald Silverstein (of Boston and London, respectively).
Growing up, Bear was active in Boy Scouts (Order of the Arrow) and Search and Rescue in the Bay Area. He was a fully engaged participant in the San Francisco music scene of the seventies, working in the record business and catching every show he could at the Fillmore, the Cow Palace, or any place great music was being created and shared. Tower Records brought him to Seattle in the eighties. He met Dawn and was married to her for eight years. Bear played in a number of Celtic rock and avant garde bands over the years and promoted many outstanding Celtic folk concerts.
At a music festival in Canada in 1990, Bear and Bridgett Chandler met, marrying and settling in West Seattle in 1993. After ten years in the electronics industry, he returned to school, completing an AA from Edmonds Community College with a 4.0 gpa and graduating from Evergreen State College in 1998 where he loved every minute of studies in music theory, history, and constitutional law.
Bear bought West Seattle Wine Cellars in 1999 with partners Tom and Jan, and one of his life passions became introducing people to great wine. His exceptional palate led him to taste and judge wines, two of his favorite events being the Washington State Wine Competition and the San Francisco Chronicle’s annual national wine tasting. A natural community-builder, Bear served on a variety of boards and helped many local and global groups, including Friends of the Cedar River Watershed, West Seattle Helpline, Westside School, and Water First.
While Bear’s commitment to honoring the earth, his love of music, and his appreciation for great wine were legendary, nothing compares to his infinite love for his daughter, Anna Constance, born in August, 2000. Despite the loss of the use of his arm from a stroke three years ago, our brave Bear never gave up hope or his efforts to play guitar again, attend the next Mariners opener with Anna to continue her lifetime streak, mix sound at the Mission Folk Festival, host friends at Pacific Beach, and dance with his daughter at the annual Father-Daughter NW Hope and Healing benefit.
We are extremely grateful for the excellent care Bear received at Providence Mt. St. Vincent, Group Health, and Virginia Mason.
A memorial service will be held at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, 3050 California Ave SW, Sunday, January 31 at 2pm with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances to honor Bear may be made to the Mission Folk Festival at Box 3125, Mission, BC, Canada, V2V 4J3 , and tax deductible donations for Anna’s education and Bear’s medical costs can be made through Anna’s church, Friends of the One, Bear Fund, P.O. Box 18646, Seattle, WA 98118.
The loss of Bear’s physical presence is the universe’s gain as his spirit is free to help us all be the creative and compassionate people we were born to be.