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Jack London State Historic Park
Photograph from Jack London State Historic Park
Grave Site

Jack London Grave Site

Gravesite of Jack London

During the last few years of his life, Jack London’s health declined rapidly from the effects of failing kidneys. On November 22, 1916, at only forty years old, Jack London died after a brief coma. His death certificate states that the cause was “Uraemia following renal colic” .

After cremation in Oakland and a brief memorial service at the ranch, Jack’s ashes were laid to rest under a large rock on a small knoll overlooking the Valley of the Moon, which is the grave site of the pioneer Greenlaw children, David, who died in 1876 and Lillie, who died in 1877.

Jack knew the small knoll which is located along the trail between the Museum and the Wolf House Ruin. He once remarked to his wife Charmian and his sister Eliza:

'I wouldn’t mind if you laid my ashes on the knoll where the Greenlaw children are buried. And roll over me a red boulder from the ruins of the Big House.'

On November 26, 1916, in a silent ceremony, Charmian London placed her husband’s ashes on the chosen knoll under a large rock from the Wolf House. After she passed away in 1955, Charmian’s ashes were laid under the same rock, next to Jack.

I would rather be ashes than dust.  I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.  I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.  The proper function of man is to live, not to exist.  I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.  I shall use my time.  ~Jack London, 1916

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