Around October 10, 2014, local community members started reporting that the man later found to be consumed by a bear was missing. Friends became suspicious when the man did not meet them on Saturday night for a prescheduled motorcycle riding event, but did not anticipate he was eaten by a bear. Known in his southern Humboldt County town as Rainbow Mountain Walker, Marion Lee Williams was found to be eaten by a local bear after dying from a heart attack in the woods near his trailer.
Now, the family and friends of Rainbow Mountain Walker are healing from his death, hoping he is not just remembered for being consumed by a bear, and asking people from around the world to help raise funds to pay for the memorial for this esteemed Kiwanis Club officer, community volunteer, and beloved biker.
When Humboldt County Deputy Coroner, Roy Horton, made official reports about Rainbow to Reuters about him being consumed by a bear, Horton stated that 85-percent of Walker’s body had been eaten by bears. Local news agencies were quick to announce that he was not killed by a bear, but consumed after he died.
KMUD News posted on their Facebook page, “Fears about a rogue black bear attacking rural residents surfaced when locals found out his body was partially eaten by a bear.” They also posted a report on their SoundCloud account with details from the coroner about the bear eating Walker. Roy Horton said,
“He was found in a place that I would describe as a place where a bear beds down … We suspect he traveled or walked to go check on his spring box to check his water supply when some sort of natural event happened where he collapsed and died. Then the bear, being animals of opportunity, came along and saw him laying there and thought of him as a food source.”
The SoundCloud report from KMUD also included statistics from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that states they have had 12 reports since 1980 of bear attacks. A detailed and well referenced list of bear attacks is cited by the Humboldt County-based newspaper, Lost Coast Outpost, that states no fatalities related to bear attacks have been reported in California since 1875. Despite the fact that Walker died of natural causes, KMUD reports that the Fish and Wildlife Department officials declared that the bear that consumed Rainbow Walker will be hunted and killed, if found.
While several locals in Humboldt County are posting their memories about his life outside of being consumed by a bear, one of his friends gave an interesting account to a local news agency that related to Walker consuming bear meat. An anonymous local man said he had known Rainbow Mountain Walker for over 20 years, and talked with KMUD about his experiences with his friend.
Reportedly, the two met while doing horseback security at various festivals and events. As a bear hunter, the friend would always carry around dried bear meat. Throughout their friendship, Walker would consume bear meat with his friend, and Walker would want to talk to him about bears because he was a bear hunter.
When his friend heard that he was eaten by a bear, he said he felt Walker probably would not mind being consumed by a bear and “going back to Mother Earth” and “returning to the Earth through a bear.” He continued by saying,
“[Being eaten by a bear] probably would not bother Rainbow because sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you. And I’ll miss Rainbow.”
In memoriam, many local Humboldt County Facebook pages are posting about Rainbow — and not just about the bear consuming him. Since he did not have an account, the community has made one called Rainbow Mountain Walker. Saying good-bye to their former officer and nine-year active member, the Redwood Run Kiwanis club has been posting memories, fundraisers, and pictures related to the life and death of Walker.
In addition to being part of the Eureka Chapter of Old Coots on Scoots biker gang, he was also a noted fan of volunteering for organizations supporting a good cause. For instance, he served Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to Veterans and worked with Tan Oak Park; a non-profit for supporting people living with AIDS.
Currently, no dates or locations have been posted about Walker’s memorial, funeral, or the fate of the bear that consumed him. He is survived by his son Justice, a UC Davis student, and his daughter Liberty of Eureka, California. When interviewed for the Lost Coast Outpost, Liberty did not speak about the bear issue and instead said her father was,
“an open-hearted, caring person who wanted to help everyone out… He wanted to see his community do better.”
Since the news broke about him being consumed by bear after dying of a heart attack, Rainbow’s family is reaching out through GoFundMe.com to help pay for memorial and funeral expenses — as well as the final payments on his Harley Davidson. According to the Lost Coast Outpost, “donations can be made at the Community Credit Union of Southern Humboldt, account number 17455.”
More information about the bear that consumed Rainbow Mountain Walker will be posted if the animal is located.
All photos taken from Rainbow Mountain Walker’s Facebook page.