Duluth businessman Jeno Paulucci, a Minnesota business icon whose ventures helped popularize the finger food known as pizza rolls, has died.
Paulucci started Chun King canned Chinese foods in 1944. He moved on to create several brands, including Michelina's prepared Italian foods, which are still produced in Duluth.
Former Duluth Mayor Gary Doty said Paulucci was a hard-driving businessman. But Doty added that Paulucci and his wife Lois were also generous donors, both to civic projects and to the poor.
"He'd call every once in awhile and say 'I see the federal government is cutting back heating assistance for people ... how can Lois and I help?'" Doty said.
Jeno Paulucci wasn't afraid to ruffle feathers, Doty said.
"He'd come at you hard," Doty said. "He was very passionate about what he believed in, what he wanted."
The Pauluccis were prominent civic boosters — helping build the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center and the popular Bayfront Park.
Lois Paulucci died earlier this week; Jeno Paulucci died Thanksgiving morning. He was 93.