David Coburn, a former president and co-founder of the Harbour City Bears, died on Sunday.
Harbour City Bears was founded as a group in 1995 and incorporated as an association in 1997 with Coburn as its first president, and he remained heavily involved in the organisation after passing the baton.
Current Harbour City Bears president Jonny Bastin said Coburn’s passing would be felt by many in the Sydney Bear community.
“Everyone at Harbour City Bears is very sad to hear of David’s passing. He was an influential figure in the Australian Bear movement and a founder of Harbour City Bears,” Bastin told the Star Observer.
“He was a friend to many current Harbour City Bears members and will be much missed.”
Seumas Hyslop, another founding member and a former partner of Coburn’s, remembered him in the role as “vibrant, always bustling and getting things organised”.
“It was largely his work that got the Bear Essentials festival up and running for the first time,” he said.
Hyslop said he remembered Coburn as a “shy extrovert” who put people at ease.
“He was a very shy person but he also put himself out there and shook many, many hands,” he said.
“He made sure that everyone felt welcome. That’s something that people would remember about him- particularly in those early years. He always had a smile and was always doing things.”