Aurora Honors Greg Zanis During Living Visitation

May 1, 2020

People in Aurora paid tribute Friday to a native son whose life is slipping away. For more than two decades Greg Zanis built crosses to commemorate the victims of mass shootings.

Cars line up outside the Zanis home in Aurora on May 1, 2020.
Credit Guy Stephens

Shepherded by police, cars by the hundreds moved past Zanis’ house with messages of gratitude. This "living visitation," as his family called it, was a chance for the community to thank Zanis for what became his calling, Crosses for Losses. For 23 years, whenever he heard about a mass shooting somewhere in the U.S., he would build sturdy wooden crosses for each of the victims, load them in his truck and personally deliver them to the site. Ironically, after traveling all over the country, some of his last were made for a mass shooting in his own hometown, Aurora.

Zanis retired from his mission at the end of 2019, worn out from the physical and emotional toll it had taken on him. And though he didn’t know it at the time, a cancer that now has him in hospice had begun to grow and spread.

Now, with time suddenly short, even people who perhaps had only heard of “The Cross Man” took what might be their last opportunity to say to him, in the words of an old hymn, “Servant, well done.”