Bear—Emily Buff Bear, 35, on December 8, 2021, in Eugene, Ore. Emily was born on March 23, 1986. She descended into the arms of her parents, Risa and Pattiebuff Bear, and joined her brothers, Micah and Bjorn. She was named Emily in honor of her maternal grandfather, Emil.
Emily was a sturdy woman who fiercely stood her ground and commanded attention. Quick to laugh, she gave of herself fully to others.
Emily had already begun to feel the injustice and inequity of our current culture when she graduated from Pleasant Hill High School in 2002. She was not ready for college. Emily had a lot of sorting to do. She spent a summer with the U.S. Forest Service in the Lowell Ranger District. She worked at the Dexter Market in Dexter, Ore. Emily, barely 5 foot 4, bantered with loggers and negotiated with customers whose behavior was at times unpredictable. She spent a year at a compact disc wrapping plant in West Eugene.
While her parents were away at the 2006 Friends General Conference Gathering and North Pacific Yearly Meeting’s annual session in Tacoma, Wash., Emily was taken to the emergency room by a friend. Her kidneys were stressed from dehydration. Emily took this wake-up call as a sign to move to Portland, Ore., and begin her college education.
Emily graduated from Portland Community College and Portland State University (PSU). She was a member of the PSU Vikings crew team. Always one to engage in physical activity, she rowed in the Dexter Lake Regatta with her family and friends cheering her on.
Community health and well-being became her calling. She completed a master’s degree in public health at PSU. Emily returned to Eugene for an internship with Lane County Public Health, where she was subsequently hired.
Emily attended Eugene Meeting as a child and Junior Friend. While living in Portland, she attended Multnomah Meeting. She served as a Junior Friends advisor for Multnomah Meeting, Eugene Meeting, and North Pacific Yearly Meeting. One of Emily’s greatest joys was to be among Junior Friends. She often shared how much she treasured her experiences with them and learned from them.
Emily experienced medical issues during her final year. During much of her life, she had focused on the physical realm. Now she was being led to pay attention to the spiritual realm. Emily listened, studied, and practiced.
Emily is survived by her parents, Risa and Pattiebuff Bear; her brothers, Micah Bear and Bjorn Bear; and her fiancé, Mike McGowan.