In honor of my beloved husband, Danny
By Julie Cleary Zanoza
Daniel T. Zanoza
Born into Life on November 27, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois
Born into Eternity on January 6, 2011
A special Mass will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 10:00 A.M. to celebrate Dan’s life. The church is located at 15050 Wolf Road in Orland Park, Illinois.
A service was held in Lincoln, Illinois at Jefferson Street Christian Church (our church) last Saturday, February 5th, 2011.
Danny and I have been together since our first date on February 8, 1974. We were married at the Four Square Gospel Church in Chicago Ridge on November 20, 1982. And yes, if you do the math, we went out for over eight years before we got married. But once we realized we were living in sin, I moved out ‘til we got married. Dan said his only regret is that we did not get married sooner. By the way, his best man asked what his duties were and we said one is to decorate the car. People always would ask us, “when are you two going to get married?”, So I told Jimmy, his best man, you should put “Finally Married” – instead of “Just Married” and that’s what the sign read!
Feb. 8, 2011 marks the anniversary of our first date 37 years ago. Quite honestly, I was feeling so sad, I was sobbing...but not for long because two awesome things happened today! Which I'll get to.
I believe Dan's most important project was coordinating a Nativity Scene in the Illinois State Capitol Rotunda (where our elected officials meet). Last year was the THIRD consecutive year the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee, Chaired by Dan Zanoza, erected and displayed a Nativity Scene (the only one to stand in a state capitol in the country) honoring the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Dan said, on more than one occasion, that the Springfield Nativity Scene would stand long after we were all gone to our reward in Heaven.
Therefore, in honor of Dan Zanoza, my beloved husband and best friend, today on the 37th anniversary of our first date, I called the Secretary of State's office (who issues permits for the SNSC) this morning, shortly after they opened, first to thank Salli Chernis for her call and condolence card, but she was not in, a co-worker (Gabby) told me Salli's brother-in-law had passed away. But I requested an application for a permit to erect the FOURTH annual Nativity Scene for 2011 and it's in the mail now!
By the way, Jim Finnegan was the person who urged Dan to get a Nativity Scene in the state capitol when we moved to Lincoln. Jim is connected with the "God Squad" which is responsible for the life-sized Nativity Scene which goes on display each year in downtown Chicago in the Daley Civic Center Plaza.
Illinois State Senator Chris Lauzen of Aurora, a pro-life warrior and a very humble, Godly man introduced Senate Resolution 34 today in the Illinois State Senate to honor Dan’s life and work! When we spoke last week, Sen. Lauzen had told me he had planned to introduce the resolution at that time, but the legislators were not in session last week because of the blizzard. Dan is probably shaking his head in Heaven right now, saying, “Why the big deal? I only did what the Lord led me to do. My ministry was to serve the Lord and if I saved just one child’s life from an abortionist, my life was worthwhile.”
I am so happy that these two "things" happened on the date of the 37th anniversary of our first date! Again, I was feeling extremely sad today...but now I'm not! Praise God! He lifted my spirits. February 8th will never be a sad day for me, but a joyous one!
Incidentally, Sen. Lauzen is a member of the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee (SNSC). And thanks to Tom Brejcha of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society (TMS) Pro-Life Law Center the Nativity scene became a reality in 2008. Tom Brejcha is also the SNSC's legal counsel.
Danny was a pro-life warrior for almost two decades. He considered his work a ministry, including writing for RFFM.org (as its founder and director) and other organizations, including the Illinois Family Institute, Illinois Leader, City News USA, and CleanTV.com. His writings have been posted on Canada Free Press, many newspapers, magazines, Ann Coulter's blog, Greta Van Susteren's blog, etc. A college text book even printed an example of Dan's work, well, technically, to be totally accurate, I should say Dan's writings with the Lord's help...which included Christlike messages.
Danny and I always prayed before writing, he never had training as a journalist, but he didn't need training, Dan had God to help him! And whenever he received a compliment on one of his articles or columns, he would always say, “Thank you, but all the credit and glory goes to the Lord.”
Danny was not perfect. In fact, many times he said, “I’m not perfect, far from it; the only perfect person was JESUS”. Can I get an AMEN? AMEN!!!
Dan also would say “God answers our prayers in one of four ways: Yes, No, Not Now or Not your way.” The obvious implication for the latter (Not your way) is the Lord has better solutions than we as humans (made in His likeness) to our “problems”.
Those of you who knew Danny personally, knew he liked to joke around…when appropriate. He’d be the first to admit he was not good at telling a joke, but he still liked kidding around.
Many of you know Dan became totally blind in 2006. Yet this did not slow him down as far as his ministry. There were times he would write a column--after he became totally blind--on paper, for me to type and edit later…because he had so much to say on issues of religious freedom, gun rights and more. I couldn't keep up with him!
I have to confess, I am NOT a good housekeeper, far from it, and, obviously, out of necessity, since I could only cook breakfast items or something simple, like a grilled cheese sandwich or hamburger, Dan taught me how to cook. The reason I mention this is because Dan as a totally blind person (with not even light recognition) would wash and wax the car, vacuum, dust, clean windows, sort laundry and much, much more.
Dan did a lot of the prep work for cooking. He would take a whole chicken, clean it, cut it into pieces and bread it. Next, he would put the oil in the frying pan and say, “Okay Jules, now it’s your turn because I can’t tell how high the flame is. He would use the timer on the talking watch he received from blind services, to time the food and tell me when to flip it, put it in the oven, etc. Dan could use the microwave on his own (by using raised dots we put on it, the stove and dryer. Once I came home from doing some grocery shopping and he had made and cooked meat loaf—from scratch--using a recipe one of our neighbors (Patricia) gave us!
Another time, while I was posting a column and e-mailing it out, my new BFF, Jayne, came over and I didn’t realize Dan was making macaroni and cheese and she said “Dan, be careful.” When I would tell some women all Dan did as a totally blind person, they would say, "Wow! My husband can see and he doesn't help me with the housework."
Let me digress for a moment. Danny and I always prayed for guidance from the Lord in our lives.
God the Father, always knows what’s best for us. Danny said the best thing that came from the loss of his eyesight was the fact that he reconciled with his sister, Helen. Dan also said it’s a good thing his Mother, Sophie, passed away when she did because it would have broke her heart to see her son go blind.
So, let me repeat, things happen in life because the Lord knows what’s best for us…after all, He knew all of us in the womb…indeed, He knew us before any of our parents met and, for that matter, thousands of years before any of us were born.
While in the hospital, Dan was joking with Jim Hostetter--our best friend from Lincoln and fellow Jeff Street Christian Church member--and he asked Dan if he knew he was terminal and Dan replied, “Yes.”
My beloved Dan told another good friend, Northern Dan (Gura), aka Also Dan [who has a great sense of humor, albeit not always politically correct--which I believe is a good thing], “the next person I SEE will be Jesus.” By the way, Northern Dan called my beloved Dan “Southern Dan”…even though we live in Central Illinois and if you don’t get the fact this is a joke, you’re not from the Chicago area.
By the way, one beautiful summer day Dan and I were sitting on our porch with Jim and Brenda Hostetter and they asked if we had any family in the area. When we replied “no” Brenda said “consider us your family.” We both wept with tears of joy! Well, I could write a book to tell you how much Jim and Brenda have done for us (and so many others in Lincoln) over the years, but I won’t. In fact, I could write a number of books to relate so many things, but I’m not a writer. I'm an editor, although you won't be able to tell after reading my words here.
The greatest compliment Dan ever received as a person was: “You must be a Christian.” And he got that compliment because actions speak louder than words.
As a writer, the greatest compliment Dan ever received: “If Dan Zanoza said it, it must be true!”
A Chicago Tribune reporter once called Dan “the Matt Drudge of Illinois politics.” But actually, even though my beloved husband and best friend of 37 years often wrote about political issues, he did not like the political side or aspect of it.
Dan wrote on many topics related to the pro-family agenda, including the rights of the innocent unborn and end of life issues and we posted many articles on end of life issues written by Bill Beckman (Illinois Right to Life Committee) on hospice care, palliative care, living wills and more.
Of course, I miss Danny very, very much and will always love him. But I take great comfort in knowing I will join him—some day, according to God's perfect timing.
Right now, I’m taking things one day at a time. I’m praying for the Lord’s guidance and, as always, my prayers are “According to God's will”. Dan said how sad it must be for those who do not believe in God and do not have the hope of eternal life in Heaven that we as believers have.
Danny will be missed by many, but his memory, including his serious and comedic sides will live on forever with his family, my family, our many friends, neighbors, church family and fellow pro-life/pro-family warriors. And thanks to technology, Dan's writings will be out there in Cyberspace...for who knows how long…except, of course, the Lord.
Thanks to everyone who prayed, sent cards, notes, helped Dan and me in so many ways…before we knew Dan was terminal and after he joined God the Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They are too numerous to mention (and thank) and I would not want to leave even one person out because no matter how you helped us both out, you will never truly know how much it was (and is) deeply appreciated. We are truly blessed. I even received cards from people I did not know, but they had read Dan's articles from our website/blog, RFFM.org. I truly have been overwhelmed and blessed.
I must thank my sister, Ann and her husband Tommy Greybill, my brothers Jeremiah and Jimmy Cleary, my niece Michelle Greybill, Dan's sister (my sister-in-law) Helen Stacey and her husband Hank, our "Busia" Arlene Sawicki, Pastor Dustin Fulton (another SNSC member) and our Jeff St. Church family, Dr.Tonimarie Vincent and Tom Brejcha (who, among others, including Bobby Shindler [Terry Schiavo's brother] helped me keep Dan out of hospice care). God bless the Rev.Lainie Dowell (for her counsel) and Dr. Laurie Roth! Also, thank you to Bill Beckman; and Mary Anne Hackett of Catholic Citizens of Illinois. God bless the Rev. Bernie Lutchman, Dan’s Bible study buddies (Business Men In Christ of Springfield), Henry and Ida Johnson of Jeff St. Church. Wow! This thank you list can be longer than the column.
Thanks to some great people at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln and St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, including volunteers. Well, I guess that’s enough, I’m sure you (and anyone who reads this) will forgive me if I don’t mention you. David Curtin, former head of the Illinois Christian Coalition, who is now in a seminary studying for the priesthood, once told us “edit ‘til it hurts.” But, in this case, I feel it would hurt more to edit, if you catch my drift…no pun intended, especially after last week’s blizzard.
Did I thank David Smith, of the Illinois Family Institute? If not, thanks, Dave! And thanks to IFI's Bruce Tincknell. Also, thanks to Bernie Schoenburg of the Springfield State Journal-Register, and thanks toTony Cameron, Mike Pawlecki...Thanks to Jean Cohoon...you probably don't realize how much you helped me.
To Bob Wood, thank you! God, as always, put you (and others) in our lives exactly when we needed you...because God is so good.
And an extra special thanks and God bless you to Beth and Rick Rogers, who spent time with Dan in the hospital on Christmas Day because I woke up to 5.5 inches of snow in Lincoln and could not be in Springfield with Dan. I know God was with Dan at all times, but Dan also had two God-fearing, God-loving friends with him on the day we celebrate Christ's birth. Beth is a member of the SNSC; Beth played her guitar and sang a song during the “Celebration of Dan Zanoza's Life” service in Lincoln with Bill Lewis, the musical director at Jeff St. Church. Thanks, Bill!
Thanks to our Pastor Dustin Fulton (another SNSC member), the ladies who helped prepare the dinner at Jeff St. Christian Church in Lincoln and those who donated food and their precious time. Thanks to Everett Crowell, also of Jeff St.
I better stop with all the thank you's or I'll be typing 'til Judgement Day, thanking almost everyone Dan and I know...including so many of our neighbors, the Hart's, Barger's, Betty Sims, the Mileham's, etc. who helped us...before and after Dan went to his Heavenly reward. And thanks to the friends from our old neighborhood in Crestwood, like Bill and Sandy, Chris and Larry...
I hope I don't offend those I did not mention here who helped both Dan and myself. In fact, I had this posted and realized I left out some special people. I almost used the word "important", but God reminded me we are all special in His eyes.
And to all the mighty prayer warriors who prayed for Dan’s healing…thank you! Danny received the ultimate healing! Alleluia!
May God bless all of you greatly!
Danny, you are now MY angel! I will always cherish our love, memories (both good and bad, as all married couples have) and almost 37 years together! I know we will meet again in Heaven. Danny, I love you and miss you very, very much! Your earthly ministry is now over and I will wait to see what ministry the Lord has in mind for me. Maybe He has many ministries in mind for me. But I know the Lord will let me know what to do and when.
From your loving wife, who has inheritied your same sense of humor. I am so blessed the Lord introduced us. Thank you, Lord! And one day, I, too, will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven and join you...again, according to God's perfect timing.
Danny, I will always love you!
P.S. To be continued at a later date, God willing!
By the way, I'm praying, according to God's will, for the "conversion" of central Illinois residents, most, if not all, who are not Chicago White Sox fans! But, like Dan said, "no one's perfect"! And like I said to "Northern Dan" Gura, after the last Super Bowl, “I hoped God had the game blocked out in Heaven so Dan couldn’t SEE the Packers beat the Steelers.” By the way, my Mother-in-law was from Pittsburgh; and Dan and his Mom watched the Chicago Bears every Sunday, unless they were on Monday Night Football!
Hey, Dan, love of my life...Super Bowl Shuffle! "...I'm Momma's boy Otis, the ladies all love me for my body and my mind." :) If you saw that video, you'll understand the smiley face. It's something Dan and I laughed about not long before he went in the hospital.
Wow, some editor I am...but how can I edit words out which came from my heart (and the Lord) about my husband, a man I spent almost 37 years with? And how can I edit out all the thank you's?
Thank you, Jesus, for blessing me and Dan so much. But most of all, thank you, Heavenly Father, for what your Son Jesus suffered for us, in order that we may have eternal salvation! Read John 3:16