Beloved author Jon Hassler, whose inconquerable will to write became as much admired as his novels steeped in small-town Minnesota, died early Thursday of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a Parkinson’s-like disease. He was 74.
Hassler, of Minneapolis, battled PSP for almost 15 years, a disease that progressively stole his ability to write, to speak and, finally, to walk. But, fueled by the sheer force of will and the love and support of his wife, Gretchen Kresl Hasssler, Hassler devised ways to keep at it.
A spirited problem-solver, Hassler wrote his most recent few novels by “typing.” His fingers, however, would fall randomly on the keyboard, and only he could read the resulting “gibberish.” He’d translate the typewritten pages to Gretchen, who would type then retype them.