ST. CLOUD – Minnesota State Senator Jerry Relph of St. Cloud has died. He was 76 years old.

Relph’s wife, Pegi Broker-Relph, released a statement late Friday night confirming his death.

“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. Jerry dedicated his life to service and representing Senate District 14 was one of the highest honors he had. I can’t count the number of times he would come home at night and tell me about helping solve a constituent’s problem, or a story he heard from someone in a parade or at a public event, or even just someone he met during a ‘day on the hill’ event. He loved serving the people of St. Cloud in the Senate, and he cherished every minute of it. Jerry loved diving into the issues, finding compromise, and working together to solve problems and I have no doubt he would have continued solving problems outside the legislature. 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."

Minnesota House Republicans reacted to the news in a tweet posted Friday night.

“We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic passing of Sen. Jerry Relph,” the tweet reads. “Our prayers are with his wife Pegi, his family, & all those who mourn the loss of a great man who served his country as a member of the US Marines & his neighbors as Senator for the St. Cloud area.”

According to a statement from Sen. Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, Relph went into quarantine on Nov. 10 after learning he had been close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.  He received positive test results three days later.

The statement released by the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus Friday night did not list a cause of death.

Relph, a Vietnam veteran and attorney, was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2016, representing District 14. He lost his bid for reelection in November to DFLer Aric Putnam by 315 votes.

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