Illinois man who delivered handmade crosses to El Paso mass shooting site dies from cancer

El Paso Strong

AURORA, Ill. (WGN) — Greg Zanis, an Illinois man who for years took crosses and other remembrances to sites of mass shootings and other disasters, has died.

In El Paso, Zanis is remembered for delivering 22 crosses to the memorial outside the Walmart near Cielo Vista Mall, following the Aug. 3 mass shooting that claimed 23 lives, with the most recent happening last week.

His daughter Susie Zanis confirmed he died early Monday morning. He was 69 years old.

Last year, Zanis was diagnosed with bladder cancer. On Friday, his daughter organized a drive-by procession and living visitation so his supporters could say their goodbyes. Zanis, who thought he had weeks to live, greeted everyone from the front porch.

Zanis’ organization, Crosses for Losses, is responsible for delivering and erecting about 27,000 memorials throughout the country, including El Paso.

Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin released the following statement:

“Mr. Greg Zanis was a giant among men. He was a man of action who simply wanted to honor the lives of others. In return, his life was one of honor and one that was celebrated throughout our nation and world. Heeding to the scripture ‘pick up your cross and follow me,’ Mr. Greg Zanis did just that. He picked up the crosses he made and followed his mission in the noblest of ways. His legacy shall forever be remembered in his hometown of Aurora and around the globe.”

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