World Aids Day: Remembering Gordon Kurtti

Panel from the AIDS Memorial Quilt which includes a display for my brother-in-law, Gordon Kurtti, (b.1960-d.1987)

Gordon Kurtti was my husband’s younger brother. He died in 1987 at age 27 from AIDS. Although we never met, I always feel as if we did. I pass a picture of him putting pearls around his sister’s neck on her wedding day whenever I go up or down my stairs. The painting he drew of two muscular legs in third position are a focal point of our living room. At family get-togethers, there is always some funny Gordon story to tell. I feel as if I know his tastes and understand his sensibility from all the times I’ve heard my husband say, “Gordon would have liked that” while we’re watching a movie or visiting a museum or “Gordon would have liked you” when my daughters draw something particularly outstanding or tell silly jokes. By all accounts, Gordon was talented and funny and I can attest to the fact that he is not forgotten, but is sorely missed. I remember him and miss him and I never even met him.

A memorial to Gordon appears above on the AIDS Memorial Quilt which is always on tour around the world but can also be viewed online at http://www.aidsquilt.org. How fitting that today, World AIDS day, comes within a week of the announcement that the drug, Truvada, may help prevent AIDS.

The handsome Kurtti brothers, Gordon and Dennis.

8 Comments

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8 responses to “World Aids Day: Remembering Gordon Kurtti

  1. Deb

    what a beautiful tribute. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a nice tribute to your brother-in-law, and what a shame about his early death. I’ve known several who died of AIDS, it’s so tragic. He would have loved you. Which of the other three is your handsome husband?

  3. Audrey Herbst

    Such a loving tribute, such a sad loss for your family and really the world. To imagine all the contributions lost to this dreadful disease over the past 30 years is overwhelming, especially when you point out the small daily reminders of loss you and your husband and his family face. Fingers crossed for this new med!

  4. A very touching tribute, and thanks for the reminder about World AIDS Day and the quilt. You motivated me to look up the square for one of my childhood friends who died in 1988; he would have been a year older than your brother-in-law. So little that could be done to help patients then; so much hard-won progress since.

  5. Deb

    Thanks for sharing this lovely tribute about Gordon.
    I think it is so beautiful that you said you remember him and miss him even though you never met.

  6. A beautiful tribute to your brother-in-law.

  7. Love the quilt and the webpage, and love the picture of the Kurtti’s even more looking so young and happy, Hi Dennis! I hope Mary Jo and the rest of the family is well.
    xx Daneyal Mahmood

  8. Just a quiet note 13 months later. I’m Richard, Gordon’s father’s brother. I miss Gordon also. I’m 72 and have played a lot, seen a lot, gotten smarter or not (?). I’m sorry that Gordon left us so early. He would have been interested in all the aspects of our current time, or at least amused by it. Nice to think of him!!

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