America and the world lost one of its most fascinating and productive citizens with the passing of Roosevelt on January 6, 1919. His health had become aggravated by rheumatic fever, mandating a month’s stay in hospital. He battled fever, vertigo and anemia, and could no long hear in his left ear. He had trouble with his balance, and never regained sight in one eye from one of his bouts of presidential boxing.
At 10:00 on the evening before, TR informed his wife Edith that he felt as if he was dying, but the feeling passed. A few hours later after spending some time writing, the 26th president retired to bed and requested his personal assistant to “put out the light.”
Before morning’s sun had risen, he was gone. His son Archie, writing to his brothers, simply stated: "The old lion is dead.”
TR comments on death in one of his final books, The Great Adventure. Here’s Steve Stark as Roosevelt:
“Death is always under all circumstances a tragedy, for if it is not, then it means that life itself has become one. But it is well to live bravely and joyously, and to face the inevitable end without flinching.
Death is the one thing certain for the nation as well as for the man. Only those are fit to live who do not fear to die; and none are fit to die who have shrunk from both the joy and duty of life. Both life and death are part of the great adventure-accept it such a spirit. I want you to face it and be ready to do the best that lies within you to win out. Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual. The only full life for man or woman is led by those who together, with hearts both gentle and valiant, face lives of love and duty.”
Dakota Datebook written and performed by Steve Stark, and funded by The Theodore Roosevelt Foundation