IN LOVING MEMORY OF
16 MAY 1990 – 02 JAN 2019
I have never had to write a eulogy before. I have heard a few and sure I can talk about memories we shared, the experiences we had, how we met… and that would all be great. But this is not about me. This is about him.
This is not a eulogy. This is a celebration of life. This is the last act of love I have to offer.
In 1990, Bo was born in the Republic of Yugoslavia. Living next to a military base as a child, by the age of 9, he had already witnessed and survived the NATO bombing. The Republic of Serbia (Modern Serbia) was formed in 2003, where he completed his middle school.
In 2008, at the age of 17, Bo won a $40,000 educational scholarship as part of the McKelvey Foundation and came to Seattle, Washington for high school. Not having any family in the U.S, he had to figure out a way to sustain himself. He was fascinated by technology and through (what I can only imagine as) a tremendous amount of dedication and hard work, taught himself programming.
In 2009, at the age of 18, while still in high school, Bo started his own consulting company Bogmil Consulting developing software applications. UberBlogCreator is an example of one of the first software’s he created.
In 2010, at the age of 19, Bo moved to the Twin Cities, Minnesota to do his Bachelors in Macroeconomics from the University of Minnesota (UofM). His interest in eCommerce, trading and investing, helped him grow Bogmil Consulting, offering a variety of internet marketing related services like website/mobile application development and design, SEO, ROI optimization, A/B testing, analytics, hosting, etc.
In 2012, at the age 21, Bo started a ‘Student Diversity’ program at UofM, which he later capitalized into a 1-year foreign exchange opportunity to study at the University of Vienna. While in Vienna, Austria inspired by the art of Vincent Van Gogh, The Starry Night (which is my first memory of him) he discovered a taste for art and travel.
In 2013, at the age of 22, he returned to the States and completed his graduation from UofM as an Honors student. He was recruited at Thomson Reuters as a Software Developer, solely based on the exponential progress his one-man consulting company made. In his own words “What began as an adventure ignited by the curiosity of maintaining my high school’s website, resulted in a meaningful career in software development.” He worked at Thomson Reuters, Ameriprise Financial, Cargill, Best Buy and SuperValu with offers from Amazon and Google. His professional career needs a post of its own, but I am not going to go there LinkedIn.
In 2014, at the age of 23, what began as a ‘I have a headache, I may need glasses’ visit to the eye doctor turned into Brain Cancer within a few short hours of being in the hospital. He was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a terminal brain cancer nicknamed the terminator.
After the first domino had fallen, 5 years, 2 states, 4 cities, 5 cancer centers, 3 brain surgeries, 2 titanium plate implants, 2 grand mal seizures, 6 types of chemotherapy, 1 port insertion, 2 radiation treatments, 3 clinical trials, 1 electric tumor treating field, 1 immunotherapy, 1 DNA modification, multiple unconventional medicines, multiple supplemental treatments, multiple natural remedies and countless MRI’s, blood draws, tests, ER visits and, 911 calls later – Bo did not give up his fight.
According to the National Brain Tumor Society and I quote “more than any other cancer, brain tumors can have a lasting and life-altering physical, cognitive, and psychological impacts on a patient’s life”. Bo, however, had this extraordinary ability to break apart the thundercloud of mental oppression. With effortless ease, he would find humor in adversities and shift the entire situation into a different gear. He called it “Humor My Tumor”. He often said to me and I paraphrase “Let’s start with where we are, with what we have and make the most of it. Our inability to do so is just a failure of imagination” – and so he did. In the midst of slipping momentum, he started at where he was, with what he had and he did make the most of it.
The next 5 years, through the bloody messy cancer crawl and while working full-time at the Fortune 100 companies, he somehow graciously found the time and drive to chase his goals. Bo became an author on Pluralsight where he published 3 courses on Python programming – Python Getting Started; Python Development and Python Design which became the 5th most popular course on Pluralsight. He enjoyed educating so much that he became a GUI Programming instructor on Udemy with a total of 15.6K students and counting. He started mentoring on Code Mentor, speaking at conferences Florida PyCon and continued to develop software Stack Overflow; GitHub. He went on to create a full-fledged service FindMyKid which proved to be more than an activity tracking software for parents.
There was no delay, no lag in between his ideas and his ability to instantaneously turn them into actions. He didn’t play by the rules. He wasn’t bound by the laws of physics. Bo went on to do his Masters in Information Technology Management and graduated as an Honors student and the Valedictorian. It is ironic that his brain was his biggest blessing and yet his biggest curse.
His heart, however, was made of gold. Despite the ridiculously high expenditures for his cancer treatments, Bo found ways to give back to society. He was philanthropic towards causes he cared about, actively donating to Wikipedia Foundation, Reddit, Mayo Clinic, Moffitt Cancer Center, etc. He was part of the 2018 Mayo Clinic Leadership Circle for his financial contributions to Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota. He created free programming lessons on YouTube based on requests from his students who couldn’t afford the paid courses. He developed the Twin Cities Metro Transit app on Google Play Store for me (because I used to invariably miss my bus), which ended up being used by 10K+ other android users. He shared his knowledge whenever he got the chance to do so Disquis; Twitter; Medium. He somehow always pushed past the pain period and gravitated towards the good.
He was a nerd, but he couldn’t be farther from its stereotypical definition. He had a quirky sense of humor. He could get along with anyone. He loved observing people, places, and cultures. He wanted to explore the world – and he did. He traveled to 28 countries, studied in 3, worked in 2 and spoke 5 languages. He was a professional swimmer and a skier.
He was propelled by his passions and if you didn’t hear it in his whisper, you would hear it in his shout.
I can only list the facts, there is nothing I can say that will do justice to paint a full understanding of the totality of who he was as a person. Anyone who knew him during this period, is a testimony to the fact that he didn’t think like a victim, he didn’t behave like a victim and he didn’t blame the circumstances.
If there was an option, he tired it. If there was an opportunity, he explored it. If he had the right of way, he took it.
He would embody the courage to shut down that internal critic, which we all have, programmed to second guess ourselves. He was bigger than his excuses, and he is still teaching me how to be bigger than mine.
Loss is a sobering phenomenon. The concept of death seems so ultimate. I am being told that grief is a normal, natural, healthy reaction to loss. Yet, what I feel doesn’t seem very normal, natural or healthy. I do, however, feel so fortunate to have been ushered into the inner sanctum of his life. It was a juggernaut of a connection.
He was my Go-To. He was my Companion. He was my Ally. He was my Friend. He was my Family.
The majority of us don’t know the depth of his contributions or success. He didn’t flaunt it. He wasn’t arrogant. After 3 brain surgeries and being left with only half a brain, he was still smarter than most. I want to honor his life and the impact that he had on me and many others.
He couldn’t add years to his life, but he stood at the edge of the unknown and added life to his 28 years, his strength, therefore, was unparalleled.
He was BRILLIANT.
He was RESILIENT.
He was FEARLESS.
May his soul rest in infinite peace while his legacy lives on, to eternity and beyond. You, my dear, will never be forgotten – not today, not tomorrow, not ever!