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Men work on road where brother died in 2005

Men work on road where brother died in 2005
Tim Zelinski, left, and his brother Randy stand next to road construction Tuesday at the site where their brother Jeff was swept off the road when heavy rains flooded Goodhue County 1 on June 9, 2005. A memorial to Jeff can be seen in the back right of the photo.

WANAMINGO — Randy and Tim Zelinske can't help it if they glance from time to time at the small wooden cross and flowers on Goodhue County Road 1.

The brothers are doing construction work at the exact spot on that road where their brother, Jeff Zelinske, died when his car was swept off the road by floodwaters on June 9, 2005. A memorial guarded by a short, white fence marks the spot off the roadway.

Randy and Tim  work for Swenke Co. of Kasson and are part of a crew that is replacing a box culvert at the site and repaving about 600 feet of the road.

Jeff was 47 when he died. He lived in Hayfield and was on his way to work a night shift at his job in Cannon Falls. A bad storm with torrential rains flooded the road, and Jeff's car was overcome.

Jeff was the third of four Zelinske brothers, in between older brother Randy, who lives in rural Mantorville, and younger brother Tim, who lives in Wasioja. The eldest, Greg, lives in O'Fallon, Ill.


Their parents, Stanley and Eleanor Zelinske, live in rural Mantorville. Jeff also is survived by a wife, Kathy, a daughter and three sons.

Randy and Tim said they think of Jeff when they're out working at the site. For one thing, a memorial put up by their parents and Kathy is still there for the men to see every day, Randy said.

"When you're up there, it crosses your mind."

"I'm glad we got the job — makes me feel a little better," Tim said.

However, they don't make a big deal of being there, either. Both struggled a bit to say how they felt about it. They haven't talked much about it between themselves, nor have they discussed it much with their families, Randy said.

"We told them that we were going to be replacing that culvert right where Jeff had went off," he said. "That's about all, I guess. It's something we gotta do. That's what we do."

Still, Tim admitted that he says "hi" to Jeff every morning.

"I don't usually get out this way much to look at (the site)," he said. "So, I mean, I guess you just let bygones be bygones. There ain't no sense in grieving on it the rest of your life. But I talk to him before anybody else gets here. I just say, 'I'm here to bug ya again today.'"

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