Atlas Missile Grave Marker
Today's lesson: If you want to be remembered for a great achievement long after your death, make sure your grave monument resembles something important. A DNA strandoid in granite? This dead person must have mapped the human genome! An earth globe with an arrow curving across the Pacific? The discoverer of Hawaii!
Doesn't matter if you actually accomplished those things, because cemetery visitors probably won't know the truth.
This occurred to us after repeated visits over the years to a unique missile grave monument in the always fun Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It marks the final resting spot of Carl Morgan Bigsby, who died in 1959. The headstone is an exact replica of an Atlas missile launched on December 8, 1958, nearly 20-ft. tall and chiseled in granite. The back of the memorial lists factoids and details about the Atlas missile. Forgetting the reason it was here, it would slip back into some "guy who invented a rocket" mental file.
In life, Bigsby was a graphic designer. As far as we know, he had nothing to do with missiles, except perhaps admiring their curves and lines. In death, he is Hollywood's Rocket Man.
His monument notes: "Retired by God"