Wendy Poling
Frequent Contributor

I read the news of Steve Jobs passing on my iPhone through a Twitter feed. The news took my breath away and I found myself deeply saddened. Even though we knew the Apple co-founder and CEO's health was ailing, it still came as a shock.


There is no doubt Steve Jobs' vision and technological genius changed my life. His impact on the creation, use and phenomenon of the personal computer, smart phones, how we listen to music, talk instantly via cell phone or video chat is frankly awe inspiring. I find myself extremely grateful and thankful I lived in a time where I got to witness such an amazing genius.


One of the newscasters this past week said Steve Jobs was the Edison, Franklin and Ford of our generation and I agree.


You see like many military families, we have special connection to the genius of Steve Jobs. While our grandmothers had to wait for letters to cross the pond to hear from our grandfathers, which might take weeks if not months, he gave us the technology and platform to video chat and actually see our loved ones thousands of miles away LIVE on the other end of a computer screen. He gave us a way to connect and communicate with not only our loved ones in harms way, but to other military spouses in our same situation. Through social networking, we knew we were not alone.


The news has been filled with tributes to Steve Jobs and top national magazines are dedicating their front covers, writing feature stories about his impact on our world. Many of the reports highlight a commencement address he gave to Stanford in 2005. In listening to the speech I learned he was adopted, that he never graduated from college, and when he was in college he never had a dorm room, "I slept on the floor in a friends' rooms". You can watch the video here.


"Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."


Even if you are not a tech person, even if you don't own a MacBook, iMac, iPhone, iPod, or iPad, these technologies changed the face of how we connect and the handheld device, computer, e-reader and/or MP3 player that you do use.


Let's not forget he also gave us Pixar and the very first computer animated feature film, Toy Story.


For the first time, deployed dads were able to view the births of their newborn babies via video teleconferencing software. No longer did we have to wait by the phone for fear we'd miss a phone call or email. We now had the freedom to get that call on our cell phone, or email via our smart phone while we were out trying to live a normal life of soccer games, commissary trips and school functions while our spouses were on the front lines, under the ocean or on the deck of an aircraft carrier.


So while Steve Jobs changed the world with technology, he also changed my personal world. He helped me and thousands of other military spouses stay connected with our Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airman and Coast Guardsman.


When we didn't have human touch, we had the written electronic word, the LIVE voice and even LIVE video feed. He simply and profoundly changed the way we live, work and play.


Steve Jobs, thank you for sharing your genius and inspiring us all.


You will be missed.


Related stories:
Steve Jobs biography arrives in stores Oct 24 - Steve Jobs' black turtleneck reportedly explained in biography

Steve Jobs: A Mega, Meta Mashup in Tweets


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Note: This post is not to lessen the loss and ultimate sacrifice of the fallen Servicemembers who also died the week Oct 5th. My thoughts and prayers go out the families of: Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Caleb A. Nelson, First Sgt. Billy J. Siercks, Spc. James A. Butz, Sgt. Nicholas A. Sprovtsoff, Sgt. Christopher Diaz, 1st Lt. Ivan D. Lechowich, Spc. Steven E. Gutowski, Pfc. David A. Drake, Lance Cpl. John R. Wimpey Cagel, 1st Lt. Ryan K. Iannelli.

Disclosure: I first read of these brave servicemembers on the MilitaryAvenue.com Facebook page.