Myrta Cruz lost fight with cancer


Myrta "Mert" Cruz

"A strong, determined, brave, courageous, giving and encouraging woman who was very protective of her children," is how Myrta "Mert" Cruz is described by her daughter Mary Mercado. Curz, 65, died of cancer on Mar. 11.

Services will be at Rago Brothers Funeral Home, 624 N. Western Ave., Mar. 19 from 4 to 9 p.m. 

Active in her community, Cruz worked tirelessly to fight against gun violence. She knew the pain of loss personally. Her 15-year-old son was killed in 1990, a result of domestic violence, and her grandson was killed due to gun violence in 2012. 


A homemade sign in hand, Cruz holds up pictures of four gun-violence victims, including Cruz’s son and grandson at a rally

Involved with Chicago Alternative Policing Strategies (CAPS), she is remembered by 12th District CAPS Sergeant Juan Clas.

"She loved to walk and she spoke her mind. I think that people were more afraid of her than she was of them," he said with a chuckle. "She was passionate about keeping her neighborhood and community safe. She had a great sense of humor and was a good friend. She will be missed." Clas met her in 1998, the year he became Sergeant in the then 13th District on Wood St. 

The recipient of many awards and certificates, Cruz's involvement in organizations and causes included CAPS as a Beat Facilitator, Cease Fire, Neighborhood Watch, Restoring Walls and Alderman Roberto Maldonado's 26th Ward office.

Myrta Cruz had five children. They are Jeanette Cruz of Bollingbrook, Efrain Cruz of North Carolina, Maria "Mary" Mercado in Logan Square, Ruben Torres in Humboldt Park and Peter (deceased). Her siblings are Gladys Martinez, Frances Rentas, Alejandro Rentas and Annie Irizary, all living in the Chicagoland area. In addition, she has 16 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.



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