Stacy Shannon Downing, 17, loved school and the theater and found the time and the energy to be active in both, despite the many hours she spent at the National Institutes of Health, where she was being treated for cystic fibrosis.
Miss Downing divided her time between NIH and her parents' home in Springfield. When she was at NIH, she still managed to drive daily to George Mason University, where she was studying to be a teacher of elementary education.
Miss Downing entered the Clinical Center at NIH for the last time on March 21. She died there Friday, leaving behind a legacy of bravery and vitality.
In her junior year at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, she had been voted "Best Personality." In her senior year, she was named "Friendliest."
At Lake Braddock, where she graduated last June, Miss Downing participated in the theater as a member of the drama department.
She played the role of Helen Keller in a presentation of "The Miracle Worker." During her junior year there, the drama director, V. C. Jones, wrote a play about girls in a boarding school, which has been presented several times. He included a special part for Miss Downing, who was the "comic relief" student at the school.
Miss Downing became interested in the theater at 12, when she worked as a stage lightling technician. She was chief lighting technician at Lake Braddock in her junior and senior years.
She also had been freshman, junior varsity and varsity cheerleader at Lake Braddock.
She was born in Norfolk, and came to Springfield with her family in 1967, where she attended Hunt Valley Elementary School. The family lived in Virginia Beach from 1970 to 1972, then returned to Springfield.
Miss Downing is survived by her parents, retired Navy Cmdr. Thomas Patrick Downing and Betty Cootes Downing, two sisters, S. Starr Downing and Kelly Hope Downing, and a brother, Thomas Patrick Downing, all of Springfield; her grandmother, Nancy Winborne Cootes of Springfield, and her grandfather, Thomas Joseph Downing of Norfolk.