Crosses For Losses

Guy Stephens

Greg Zanis, who became known as “The Cross Man” for his memorials to the victims of mass shootings, died of cancer Monday morning. He was 69.

On social media, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin called Zanis a giant among men. Irvin said Zanis’ legacy will forever be remembered in Aurora and around the globe.

Over 23 years, Zanis built and personally delivered more than 27,000 crosses to the sites of mass shootings across the country, including Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, The Pulse nightclub in Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Aurora Honors Greg Zanis During Living Visitation

May 1, 2020
Guy Stephens

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.

Guy Stephens

Greg Zanis spent 23 years making and delivering crosses to honor the victims of mass shootings and other tragedies. Today, his community has what might be the last chance to honor him in life. 

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Dozens of crosses line sidewalks near the MLK Commons. Each is adorned by a red heart, and the victim’s name and age.

A number on each cross represents a murder in Chicago this year.

Greg Zanis, a carpenter from Aurora, says he plans to build a cross for each victim. He takes them to different locations, like Englewood in Chicago.

For NIU students like Matthew Moore, the collection is eye-opening. He says the community needs to work together to stop the line of crosses from growing longer.