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.
His daughter Susie Zanis confirmed he died early Monday morning. He was 69 years old.
Last August, Zanis drove more than 1,500 miles after leaving memorials for El Paso shooting victims to Dayton with more memorials in the back of his car to leave in front of the growing memorial for the Oregon District shooting victims.
Zanis was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year. 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.
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.”