Lincoln family shares story of enduring two tragedies

A Lincoln family is going through the unthinkable after being rocked by two tragedies less than a month apart.
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 11:09 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A Lincoln family is going through the unthinkable after being rocked by two tragedies less than a month apart.

The Zeiger family lost a father and husband in September in a deadly motorcycle crash, and then just last week, their house went up in flames. Despite everything the Zeiger family has been through, they’re finding comfort with each other.

Jeffery Zeiger leaves behind his wife, Marissa, and two daughters. On September 24, Jeffery was riding his motorcycle home to help his daughter fix her car.

“He was listening to his music, he wasn’t speeding, he wasn’t switching lanes,” said Marissa.

Marissa, his wife of 20 years, said she was supposed to be on that bike with him that afternoon, but she wasn’t. Jeffery never made it home.

“The girls had called me and said that dad was in a collision and that they were calling emergency services,” Marissa said.

Lincoln Police said a 32-year-old woman pulled out in front of Jeffery near Northwest 19th and West ‘O’ streets. Jeffery later died at the hospital.

“You never picture that this is what it’s going to be like you know, like we had plans for our future and our retirement and like all of that’s gone now,” Marissa said, through tears.

“I just feel cheated because my dad doesn’t get to see me graduate or anything in here. It just sucks,” said Jeffery’s 16-year-old daughter, Maryah, also crying as she speaks.

Then, still reeling from the fact that their lives were forever changed, a little more than two weeks later on October 12, the family’s northwest Lincoln home caught fire.

“I came home from lunch and my house was on fire,” Marissa said.

Nearly everything they owned was destroyed. Even their 11-year-old boxer, Frankie, died in the fire. According to LFR, the flames caused more than $65,000 worth of damage.

“It’s been weird. It’s kind of like you’re in a bad dream. And you just want to wake up, or like someone’s holding you underwater,” said Jeffery’s 19-year-old daughter, Madisyn.

For now, Marissa, Maryah, and Madisyn are staying with Marissa’s sister until they can find a rental to live in, and until their home is rebuilt, they’re still trying to come to grips with everything that’s happened.

“The second they let you up to catch a breath, they push you right back down again,” Maryah said.

A GoFundMe has been started to help the family regain some sense of normalcy, to get them things like clothes and other basic items.