Sewn in Memory: Greg Downey
Greg Downey was born in Monticello, Illinois and attended schools in Monticello. He graduated from Illinois State University with an information technology degree then moved to Louisville, KY to work as a systems programmer for the city. After contracting HIV, Greg’s parents took turns staying with him in Kentucky, and later moved him back to central Illinois so they could care for him at home. Greg really wanted to see the NAMES Project AIDS AIDS Memorial Quilt at McCormick Place in Chicago in 1990, so he and his family went. He died 4 days later. He asked his parents to stay involved in HIV/AIDS support and education. They also established an art scholarship to honor his love of art. In this video, Greg’s mother, Georgia King, talks about her son, his courage and his last wishes.
These videos commemorate men who died from AIDS in central Illinois in the 1980s and 1990s as told through stories from their friends and family. They are produced by the University of Illinois Department of Journalism and Illinois Public Media as part of Sewn in Memory: AIDS Quilt Panels from Central Illinois, a community-curated exhibit created for the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures in 2021 in collaboration with the Greater Community AIDS Project of East Central Illinois (GCAP) and the Department of History at the University of Illinois.