Illinois man who delivered tens of thousands of crosses to victims of tragedy retires

Chicago News USA

An Illinois man who became a fixture in the aftermath of numerous tragedies when he began crisscrossing the country and making wooden crosses more than two decades ago to honor the those who were killed is retiring, his daughter said Thursday.

In a Facebook post, Susie Zanis said her father, Greg Zanis, will no longer be making the crosses, citing the financial and emotional toll it has taken on the family.

“My dad Greg Zanis will no longer be doing his ministry Crosses For Losses. He will be retiring,” she wrote. “He asked me to thank everyone for their support.”

Zanis started making the crosses after his father-in-law was murdered in 1996. He has since placed more than 27,000 memorials for others who have been killed. He has honored victims of Chicago gun violencemass shootings, hurricaneswildfires and other natural disasters.

Carpenter Greg Zanis sets up wooden crosses in memory of the dead of the "Camp" fire in the Paradise area at the entrance to the village along the main access road. Zanis made wooden crosses in memory of deaths from mass shootings and other incidents. Photo: Barbara Munker/dpa (Photo by Barbara Munker/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Carpenter Greg Zanis sets up wooden crosses in memory of the dead of the “Camp” fire in the Paradise area at the entrance to the village along the main access road. Zanis made wooden crosses in memory of deaths from mass shootings and other incidents. Photo: Barbara Munker/dpa (Photo by Barbara Munker/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Susie Zanis said her father’s work has taken “a huge toll on our family, from missing my dad and worrying about him while he was away to the financial burden it caused on our family.”

Greg Zanis most recently traveled to El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the summer to honor those killed in separate mass shootings that occurred hours apart in August.

“I just feel it’s so important to be here for the families,” Greg Zanis had told Fox News from El Paso, days after a gunman killed 22 people inside a Walmart. “We’re talking about the gunman, but today it’s going to change — we’re going to start talking about the families and the victims.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Susie Zanis said her father will focus on paying off the debt he’s accumulated over the years during his work.

“He has been funded through some of it; however, he has mostly used his own money to continue his ministry,” she wrote. “I am extremely proud of him for following his heart but I am more proud of him for realizing it is time for him to take a break and focus on himself.”

Leave a Reply