Jack’s Epitaph

In March of 1893, the life of Jack the Bear suffered a tragic ending. In the middle of one of his regular Pac Ave strolls, a patrolman unfamiliar with Jack's legend shot him three times in the side with his police issued revolver.

Originally published in The Every Sunday in March of 1893, Jack’s Epitaph is a celebration of Tacoma’s defiant bear, but it also remains defiant in that very celebration. Jack’s unique history is featured in the rhymes. Spoiled by the hotel with grand food the un-bearlike bear is celebrated for his passivity and popularity.

But the epitaph, a celebration of the Defiant Bear, also reminds us that bears are not meant to be caged. When unchained and left to roam the streets, Jack was truly free. His life before capture and his passing were his freedom.

Our poet-author of Jack’s Epitaph defied the standard celebrations. As Tacoma Hotel hosted a barbecue in remembrance of Jack, the poet took the nuanced approach, reminding Tacomans of Jack’s greatness and our own flaws. A defiant bear is remembered most for defying convention.


Defiantly Tacoma

Next match at Phoenix Rising on April 20 at 7:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
Next home match versus Portland Timbers 2, a Day of Defiance, at Cheney Stadium on May 12 at 1:30 pm. (Tickets available here).