High-tech headstones immortalizing life stories

High-tech headstones immortalizing life stories
The cemetery is a simple place: grave markers, names, and dates.

But one Seattle man is radically re-thinking the whole concept of what a gravestone is, and what the experience at a cemetery should be.

When Dave Quiring visits the gravesite of his departed parents, he actually sees them, hears them, and interacts with them.

He is president of Quiring Monuments. His family has been in the business for six generations.

His business is litered with slabs of stone, and blocks of granite. It is a kind of graveyard in waiting.

Under Dave's watchful eye, the slabs are personalized, and immortalized. They are turned into permanent markers of lives lived.

His favorite quote goes like this: "show me how a nation takes care of its dead, and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender sympathies of its people."

Quiring Monuments, on Aurora, is where Dave came up with an incredible idea. He calls it the "living headstone."

"The ability to connect is going to make this whole experience not only more meanfull, but it's going to make it... it's going to help people move through grief," Dave says.

It involves what he calls a tag, which is basically a bar code. It is built into the gravestone. Passers by can scan the code into their smart phone, and just like that, they are taken to a personalized website, full of information about the departed person who rests beneath the stone.

I asked Dave, "Why? Why do we need technology in a cemetery?"

His answer was direct and simple: "Nobody wants to be just another brick in the wall."

The pages can contain anything -- photos, sayings, stories, obituaries, videos, even humor.

He took us to his father's grave. He scanned the phone, and sure enough, there it was. Dave's dad had kept a favorite saying in his wallet for many years. On his page was a photo of the very paper he had kept for so long.

Oh his mother's page is a glamor shot. "She never did like that shot either," Dave said with a sly smile. "For every time I've had someone in my office crying, I've had five families laughing."

The possibilities are endless. Imagine going to your grandfather's grave site, and watching video of him telling a story about the old days.

For a thousand graves, there are a thousand stories, and Dave Quiring wants to help all of us tell those stories.

So far, he's sold about 20 of the living headstones. They've only been on the market for a little more than a month. The cost isn't nearly as much as you might think, about $150 more than the normal cost of a headstone.

Dave dreams of voices from the past reminding us that they were here. That they lived, and mattered, and still have something to offer, even from the grave.