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In the years leading up to his death, my grandfather suffered from deep depression, suicidal thoughts, crippling bouts of paranoia and intense feelings of inadequacy. A few months before his July 1961 death, he attempted suicide. As he was traveling through Wyoming on a plane, the pilot stopped at the Casper airport for routine repairs. In a sudden bout of depression and paranoia, Hemingway attempted to walk into the plane's moving propeller. Fortunately, some nearby men stopped him from doing so, and he was abruptly transported to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for treatment that would include electroconvulsive therapy. Hemingway would attribute his suicidal tendencies to being ferociously pursued by "the Feds." This may have been a plausible and forgivable mindset when it was later learned that longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover did indeed have him on a watch list because of his villa in Cuba and his fraternization with political figures therein. Always the man's man and adventurer, my grandfather chased outdoor thrills and fun in rugged, untouched landscapes; however, he ultimately succumbed to his demons. In the years before his suicide, his behavior had been similar to that of his father, who also took his own life. Clarence Edmonds Hemingway, my great grandfather, likely suffered from a genetic disease called hemochromatosis, when the body's inability to metabolize iron culminates in mental and physical deterioration. In 1961, Hemingway was diagnosed with the disease. He fatally shot himself in July of that same year at his home in Sun Valley. The funeral was held in Ketchum, Idaho, and officiated by a Catholic priest who believed the death was accidental. "It seemed to me Ernest would have approved of it all," my grandfather's younger brother, Leicester, wrote of the funeral. He is buried in the Ketchum cemetery.
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