Family reflects on sinkhole tragedy: ‘It doesn’t seem real’ - FOX 13 News

Family reflects on sinkhole tragedy: ‘It doesn’t seem real’

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  • Family reflects on sinkhole tragedy: ‘It doesn’t seem real’More>>

  • Family of sinkhole victim coping with loss of 'great guy'

    Family of sinkhole victim coping with loss of 'great guy'

    Saturday, March 2 2013 11:01 PM EST2013-03-03 04:01:04 GMT
    It was news that the family of Jeff Bush did not want to hear. Late Saturday afternoon Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said the land around the Seffner sinkhole was too unstable and the
    It was news that the family of Jeff Bush did not want to hear. Late Saturday afternoon Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said the land around the Seffner sinkhole was too unstable.
SEFFNER (FOX 13) -

The healing process is just beginning for a Seffner family whose life was destroyed by a sinkhole.

The family lost their home, and they never got to say goodbye to Jeff Bush, who was killed when his bedroom floor collapsed into the hole.

His body has never been recovered. On Tuesday night, his family is holding a memorial in his honor.

"It just – it doesn't seem real," said Janell Wheeler, who was inside the home when the sinkhole opened.

Wheeler and home owner Buddy Wicker spoke with FOX 13 at the site of the property Tuesday morning.

"We drive through the neighborhood every day," said Wheeler, whose family is now in a house set up by her insurance company.

Wicker said he's still waiting for the county to hand back the property, which has since been fenced in. People have left flowers and cards for the family on that fence, and memories still linger of what once was, Wicker said. 

"I might put a memorial site on there for Jeff," Wicker said of the property. "Like a little park bench so the family can come by, and it's just, it's hard to look back – 39 years there. The only thing left there is a tree. That's the way it was when I first bought it bare like that … 39 years I spent in the house. I raised my four kids, 13 grandkids and 18 great grandkids."

A service in memory of Bush, 37, is set for Tuesday night at 7. It's at Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon and is open to the public, Wheeler said.

"It's going to be a good night," she said. "It's going to be a celebration of Jeff's life. He was a great person. He was real quiet. He was loved by everybody. He loved to go fishing. He loved to play his game. He was just a great person, and we're going to celebrate his life.

The family has asked for donations to the Sinkhole Family Relief Fund. Checks should be made payable to the Brandon Foundation and sent to P.O. Box 3197, Brandon, FL 33509, Attn: Sinkhole Family Relief.

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