John died in Linn, Oregon at age 33 under suspicious circumstances. His mother received a telegram saying her son had died of apoplexy and requesting disposition instructions. She and her son Carl, a lawyer immediately wired back a request to have the body shipped to Hicksville. When the body arrived it was discovered that John had been mauled and beaten. The local coroner was asked to conduct an autopsy where he discovered there was no brain affection and he had not died of apoplexy but rather likely from the beating. A letter accompanied the body from the family that John was living with. They stated that John came home the night of his death in a precarious condition, a doctor was called but he later expired. Family stories indicate that John went to the Northwest to escape his midwest upbringing and had vowed never to return. John is buried alongside his parents and several siblings.