Shelley Burgau is remembered as a woman who put family first, but also one with a wide circle of friends in Alexandria.
Burgau, a 53-year-old from Alexandria, died in a three-vehicle crash last Friday, Sept. 25, after a dump truck blew a tire and crashed into her vehicle.
Burgau was a nurse and dermatology assistant at the Midwest Clinic of Dermatology and Vein Institute in Alexandria.
Burgau and her husband, Ryan, who owns Stub’s Marine in Alexandria, have three children, Brenna, Chessa and Brady, and she was a grandmother to two grandchildren, Leon and Kendrick.
Jodi Berning, a long-time close friend of Burgau’s, said the moment people met Burgau, they instantly loved her. Berning, owner of Broadway Floral in Alexandria, described her friend as kind, loving, warm and a person who had an intense love for her family.
“We always spoke of family first before moving on to other subjects,” Berning said. “And it was never one-sided. She would talk about hers and then ask about yours, always listening with interest in anything you said.”
Berning said Burgau was the “glue” that made her family so wonderful; always planning things, doing things and spending time with her family.
“They always came first, yet she still found time to spend with multiple different groups of friends,” she said.
Burgau, according to Berning, had a variety of friend groups – walking, running and fitness friends, hockey friends, baseball friends, her church family and her work family. Berning said Burgau, who graduated from high school in Alexandria, even hung out with a group of classmates “after all these years” as well.
“I honestly don’t know anyone with a more diverse friend group than Shelley, but like I said, she could not help but be loved by anyone who met her,” she said. “Her parents did an amazing job at raising such a great human being.”
Berning said Burgau never made it feel like she was too busy and that she always had a calm and peace about her at all times.
“You felt the world stopped when you had a conversation with her,” she said. “And it wasn’t just meaningless fluff.”
Berning and Burgau became friends when their kids played hockey together. She said they road tripped together and often took care of each others’ boys. If she couldn’t make it to a game, Burgau would take care of Berning’s son or if her son would need a ride from practice Burgau would bring him home and vice versa.
“I will never forget our hockey time together,” said Berning.
Berning also said her friend loved the outdoors and would often take pictures of the views from her back patio overlooking Lake Geneva.
“In fact, her sister Shanna posted a picture (on Facebook) of that view the night we lost Shelley,” said Berning. “With just her phone, Shelley often, and I mean often, captured the beauty God gave us every evening.”
Burgau was also devoutly in love with God and tried to do what Jesus would do, said Berning.
“I have told people if I could pick a person who could be replicated on this Earth, it would truly be Shelley Burgau,” said Berning. “She was one of those people who didn’t look for friends; she just found them with no effort at all. She had so much kindness and love that just radiated all around her.”
The crash happened on County Road 82 Southeast near Freedom Road Northeast, just east of the channel between Lakes Geneva and Victoria.
About 2:16 p.m., a dump truck, owned by Ferguson Brothers Excavating Inc., was westbound on County Road 82 Southeast when it blew a tire. This caused the dump truck to cross into the other lane and hit a Chevy truck and a Jeep, the sheriff's office said.
Burgau, who was driving the Jeep, was pronounced dead on scene.
Paul Carlsen, 65, of Garfield, who was driving the dump truck and Greg Petermeier, 54, of Sauk Centre, the driver of the Chevy, were not injured, according to the sheriff’s report.
The sheriff's office was assisted by the Alexandria Fire Department, Minnesota State Patrol and North Ambulance.
The visitation for Burgau will take place Thursday, Oct. 1 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria. Her funeral will be Friday, Oct. 2 at 11 a.m. at Lake Community Church in Alexandria with visitation also taking place one hour prior to the service. The funeral service will be live streamed for those who are unable to attend. Anderson Funeral Home is taking care of the arrangements.