Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John Wayne Gacy Jr.

Too Good to Be True

After attending four high schools in his senior year and never graduating, Gacy dropped out of school and left home for Las Vegas. While in Vegas, he worked part time as a janitor in a funeral parlor performing odd jobs. He was not happy in Vegas because he couldn't get a decent job. He tried desperately to earn enough money to get back home. However, it was difficult because there were few jobs available for those who did not have a high school diploma. It took him three months to earn enough money for a ticket back to Chicago where his two sisters and mother joyfully awaited his arrival.

Soon after Gacy returned from Las Vegas in the early 1960's, he enrolled himself into a business college and eventually graduated. While at business college, he perfected his talent in salesmanship: Gacy was a born salesman who could talk his way in and out of almost anything. He put his talents to work when he was hired at his first job out of business school at the Nunn-Bush Shoe Company. He excelled in his position as a management trainee and it was not too long after his start with the company that he was transferred to manage a men's clothing outlet in Springfield, Illinois.

It was during this time that Gacy's health again took a turn for the worse. He had gained a great deal of weight and he began to suffer more problems with his heart condition. Soon after his hospitalization for his heart, he was hospitalized again for a spinal injury. His weight, heart and back problems would plague Gacy for the rest of his life, yet that would not stop him from his work or other activities.

While in Springfield, Gacy became involved in several organizations that served the community: the Chi Rho Club where he was membership chairman, the Catholic Inter-Club Council where Gacy was a member of the board, The Federal Civil Defense for Illinois, the Chicago Civil Defense where Gacy was a commanding captain, the Holy Name Society where he was named an officer and the Jaycees where Gacy devoted most of his time to and eventually became first vice-president and "Man of the Year."

It was obvious that Gacy took his involvement in community organizations very seriously and he devoted most of his free time to them. Many who knew Gacy at this time considered him to be very ambitious and eager to make a name for himself in the community. He worked so hard that on one occasion he was hospitalized for nervous exhaustion. However, once again he refused to let his health problems stand in the way of life and happiness.

 

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