Tribute: Augustus Owsley “Bear” Stanley III, 1935-2011

As you may already know, over the weekend Owsley “Bear” Stanley was killed in a car accident. Word of Bear’s death hit the community hard and has stirred an overwhelming response from the many people he had touched throughout his life.

Bear & Jerry

At the opening of last night’s Furthur show, Phil commented:

We lost a good friend, more than just family. In Bear’s honor, I did something I haven’t done in years, I ate a steak, raw

Bob Weir also shared some words on his Facebook wall yesterday:

A mind like Bear’s appears very rarely, and it’s been my privilege and honor to have known and loved two such minds- Jerry and Bear. I always laugh when I think about what Jerry once said about Bear: There’s nothing wrong with Bear that several billion fewer brain cells wouldn’t fix…I am eternally grateful for all of the gifts that Bear brought to the scene and to the music…Fare you well; I love you more than words can tell.

It would be nearly impossible to describe the effect Bear had on music and culture, and I won’t even begin to try (for that type of thing check out’s terrific obituary). Instead, we’ll honor Bear the way we know best—by sharing one of the recordings he made, of the music he loved. RIP Bear. The world has lost a true sonic and psychedelic visionary.

He’s Gone” -> ‘The Other One” (9.28.72)

In the book Dark Star by Robert Greenfield , Bear recalls his first experience with the Dead:

In December ’65, I really heard the Grateful Dead for the first time. It was at the Fillmore the night before the Muir Beach Acid Test. I was standing in the hall and they were playing and they scared me to death. Garcia’s guitar terrified me. I have never before heard that much power. That much thought. That much emotion.


Fare thee well…



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