In the tranquil St. Catherine's Catholic Cemetery in Oyens, Iowa, a unique headstone stands out among the rest - a black granite BlackBerry phone. This remarkable monument belongs to none other than Michael Alan Stoos, a man whose passion for technology and love for his BlackBerry knew no bounds.
Born in Le Mars, Iowa on January 31, 1970, Michael was raised in Akron, Iowa, where he graduated from Akron Westfield High School in 1988. He later attended South Dakota State University and graduated with honors in 1993 with an engineering degree. After marrying Karen Lyn Simon (of Hoven, South Dakota) in 1992, the couple relocated to Gaithersburg, Maryland in 1994, where Michael went on to become the chief technology officer and director of infrastructure for the Food and Drug Administration in Washington, DC, and Karen became a biologist at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
Michael's job demanded that he be constantly connected, which meant that his BlackBerry was practically an extension of his arm. This was the peak BlackBerry era and Michael's wife, Karen, often joked that he spent more time with his BlackBerry than he did with her. Little did she know that the device might have played a role in his untimely demise when he veered into oncoming traffic in his new Silver 2019 Infiniti G37 on a Sunday drive early in the morning of March 14, 2010, in Boyds, Maryland.
But Michael's life was more than just emails and conference calls. He was an adventurer who had traversed the globe, exploring countries such as Switzerland, Germany, and Japan. He also indulged in hobbies like poker, fishing, volleyball, sipping wine, and strumming his guitar. Truly, a Renaissance man!
In the years before the rise of smartphones like the iPhone and Android devices, the BlackBerry reigned supreme as the go-to gadget for busy professionals. This ingenious piece of technology was a trailblazer in the realm of mobile communications, offering users the ability to send emails, browse the internet, and manage their schedules with ease, all from the palm of their hands.
The BlackBerry was more than just a phone; it was a status symbol that represented success and productivity. It was a device that enabled people to stay connected with their work and personal lives in a way never before seen. The tactile QWERTY keyboard, the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service, and the push email technology were game-changers that had a profound impact on the way people communicated and conducted business.
This era of mobile communication should not be forgotten, as it laid the foundation for the modern smartphone landscape. The BlackBerry taught us the value of staying connected, multitasking, and managing our lives on the go. It paved the way for the smartphones that we know and love today, but it was the BlackBerry that first captured the hearts and thumbs of business users worldwide.
As we pay tribute to Michael Stoos, the BlackBerry King, let us also take a moment to remember and appreciate the pioneering spirit of the BlackBerry era. Its impact on mobile communications was nothing short of revolutionary, and its legacy remains an important chapter in the history of technology. In the rapidly evolving world of smartphones, let's not forget the humble beginnings and the innovations that led us to where we are today.
In memory of Michael and his unwavering dedication to his BlackBerry, his family decided to commemorate him with a black granite headstone in the shape of his beloved device. It's a fitting tribute to a man who could send an email faster than you could say "BBM me!" and a gentle reminder that while technology connects us, it's the memories and laughter we share that truly matter.
So, here's to you, Michael Stoos - the BlackBerry King. May your memory live on, and may your BlackBerry headstone serve as a symbol of your passion for staying connected.