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Minnesota State Sen. Jerry Relph Dies After Contracting COVID-19

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The wife of Minnesota State Sen. Jerry Relph, of St. Cloud, says that her husband has died at 76.

Last month, Relph tested positive for COVID-19, three days after going into self-quarantine after he discovered he was exposed at the State Capitol. Relph then went to an emergency room for his symptoms.

"I'm heartbroken to share that my husband, Jerry Relph, has passed away and entered his heavenly home. Jerry was a beloved husband, father, and grandfather. He was a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, an attorney, small businessman, and dedicated public servant in the Minnesota Senate," Pegi Broker-Relph said in a statement. "I'd like to thank everyone at the legislature for the relationships and sense of family you provided for us over the last four years. I am profoundly grateful for all the love and support our family has received. From the bottom of my heart, thank you."

Following Relph's death, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka released the following statement:

"Senator Jerry Relph was a true friend and colleague loved by so many. For four years, he rolled up his sleeves and tackled tough issues for our state. Senator Relph will always be remembered as a dedicated public servant. He was already thinking of ways to have an impact on his community after narrowly losing his re-election. We are deeply saddened by his passing and offer our prayers and support to the Relph family."

In November, Minnesota Democrats called for Gazelka to resign from his leadership post, saying Senate Republicans didn't notify Democratic colleagues and non-partisan Capitol staffers about gatherings that led to positive COVID-19 cases.

Relph was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and enrolled at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He enlisted in the Marine Corps, and eventually served in the Vietnam War. After his military service, he went to law school while working for 3M, and then moved to St. Charles to practice law and raise a family.

He was elected to the Minnesota State Senate in 2016, serving St. Cloud, Waite Park, and communities in Benton, Sherburne, and Stearns counties.

"My deepest condolences go out to Jerry's family and loved ones. He was a dedicated public servant and a truly kind man," said Senate DFL Leader Susan Kent. "He worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Minnesotans and he will be sincerely missed."

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