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Sid Gee points to the spot where the memorial cross for Paul Zelenski was originally placed. Gee moved the cross to no avail, it was eventually stolen and hasn’t been seen since.

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Iron cross erected to honor Payson character removed

Sid Gee and his hiker buddies knew him only as Paul Z, the amiable guardian of some of Payson’s most popular trails. “His last name was too complicated to say,” said Gee, somberly, in the shadow of tragedy. In actuality, Paul Z’s last name was Zelenski. Before his disturbing, lonely death and the heartbreaking vandalism that followed, he had children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. For two years, every time Gee hiked the trails at the end of Phoenix Street, he would stop to have a chat with the man who lived in a trailer near the trailhead. “A lot of people talked to Paul,” said Gee.

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