Yesterday, Today, & FOREVER The King of Pop

Granite Tribute for Michael Jackson in Gary

Senthil
Muruganantham, CEO of Stone Plans in Richmond, was struck with an idea
for a monument while watching Tuesday’s television coverage of the
funeral and tribute to Michael Jackson in Los Angeles.
He stayed up through the night designing the monument. (Supplied photo)


Tribute will be unveiled today

Stone Plans CEO stays up all night to design idea, gets OK from officials


BY BILL ENGLE • STAFF WRITER
• July 10, 2009

The
monument to pop icon Michael Jackson, to be unveiled today in Gary,
Ind., was produced in Richmond in a whirlwind 48-hour effort of
creativity, coordination and synchronicity.

Senthil
Muruganantham, CEO of Stone Plans in Richmond, was struck with an idea
for a monument while watching Tuesday’s television coverage of the
funeral and tribute to Jackson in Los Angeles.

He stayed up through the night designing a monument and then contacted Gary officials Wednesday.

He pitched it, they loved it and he produced it.

It
will be shipped to Gary today and unveiled during tonight’s memorial
service in The King of Pop’s hometown. Mayor Rudy Clay will officiate
joined by Jackson’s father, Joe Jackson, the Revs. Al Sharpton and
Jesse Jackson, former Miss Indiana Kellee Patterson, singer Deniece
Williams and actor Fred "The Hammer" Williamson.

"We
were watching the memorial service and we had an idea for a tribute to
Michael Jackson," Muruganantham said. "I started working on it and
spent the whole night designing it. "Obviously, it struck us that it would be such a tribute and honor to do a monument for Michael Jackson," he said.  In turn, the monument is striking.

On
the front, Michael Jackson is in silhouette in a classic dance pose
against the backdrop of a full moon. "Never can say good bye," the
title of one of his hits, is emblazoned below.

On
the back, a collage of pictures of Jackson from the many stages of his
career rings Jackson’s visage, created from lyrics from "Gone Too
Soon," the song Jackson wrote for Ryan White, the Kokomo teen who died
of AIDS in 1990.

Titles to several Jackson hits follow below.

"Who
is not a fan of his music?" Muruganantham said. "I listened to his
music growing up in India. Anybody who sees this can relate to Michael
Jackson and his music."

Muruganantham’s
company is unique in that it could produce such a tribute in such a
short period of time. His granite comes from a quarry his family owns
in India. He had the 8-foot tall, 5-foot wide, 5,000-pound block in his
65,000-square-foot warehouse, which is located on a dusty side street
on the city’s northwest side.

Muruganantham designs many of the monuments, markers, mausoleums, civic memorial and name signs his company produces.

He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in architecture from Ohio State University.

"We
did all the work in our house," said Dan Tate, a company manufacturers’
representative. "’We’re one of the few companies in the nation that
could have done something like this. Usually it takes several months
when you’re dealing with second, third and fourth parties."

The
polished black granite monument was designed on a computer and
laser-etched over 24 hours. It was completed around 10 p.m. Thursday.  "The
design process was kind of chaotic but when I finished it felt right,"
Muruganantham said. "When I sent it (Gary officials) fell in love with
it. I think it was what they had in mind.

"Obviously
we are proud. It’s amazing to be a part of Michael Jackson’s legacy,"
he said. "But part of it was being there at the right place at the
right time. Sometimes it’s meant to happen and it does."

Stone Plans Monuments


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