Jessie Burns Cause of Death: A Mystery Unsolved

Who was Jessie Burns?

Jessie Burns was the wife of famous author Norman Maclean, who wrote the classic book A River Runs Through It. She was born in Butte, Montana, in 1905 and married Maclean in Helena, Montana, in 1931. She was known as “Jakie” by her friends and family.

How did Jessie Burns die?

Jessie Burns died in Chicago, Illinois, on December 7, 1968, at the age of 63. The cause of her death is not clear, but some sources suggest that she suffered from a heart condition. She was buried in Park Forest, Illinois.

Why is Jessie Burns’ death a mystery?

Jessie Burns’ death is a mystery because there is not much information available about her life and death. She was overshadowed by her husband’s fame and literary success, and she did not leave behind any writings or memoirs of her own. She was also a very private person who did not seek publicity or attention.

Moreover, Jessie Burns’ death coincided with a tragic period in Norman Maclean’s life. He had lost his brother Paul to a violent murder in 1938, and his father to a stroke in 1941. He had also retired from his teaching career at the University of Chicago in 1973, and was struggling to find a publisher for his book. He said that his decision to write fiction was an attempt to rebuild his life after his wife’s death. He wrote, “She was dead, and I wanted to do something beautiful to take her place.”

Therefore, Jessie Burns’ death was not widely reported or documented, and it remains a mystery to many readers and fans of Norman Maclean’s work. Some speculate that her death may have inspired some of the themes and motifs in his book, such as loss, grief, and the fragility of life. However, Maclean himself did not reveal much about his personal feelings or experiences in his writings, and he preferred to let his stories speak for themselves.


Jessie Burns was a remarkable woman who lived a quiet and modest life. She was the wife of one of the most celebrated American writers of the 20th century, but she did not seek fame or recognition for herself. She died in 1968, leaving behind a mystery that has not been fully solved. Her death may have influenced her husband’s literary masterpiece, A River Runs Through It, but it also left a void in his heart that he tried to fill with his words.

Doms Desk

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