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Bennie James "The Tin Man" Francisco, 94, of Sarasota, Fla., died on Monday, Jan. 5, 2010 in his home with family by his side.

He was born on April 19, 1915 in Duluth, to John and Carmella (Romano) "Gianfrancesco" Francisco.

Bennie, age 12, worked for Kelson's Bakery before and after school. At age 16 he was apprenticed as a baker's assistant with the Schultz Bakery Company in International Falls, Minn., and then for Rikus & Vertin Bakery in Ely, Minn., preparing bread for workers at the CC Camps and later at Hayworth's Bakery and Zinsmaster Bakery before changing careers. He was a self educated electrician by taking a correspondence course. Bennie retired from U.S. Steel in 1972 as an electrician after 33 years of service.

Bennie loved his family, fishing (hundreds of trips to Lac de Mille Lac in Canada and six trips to Kodiak Island, Alaska), friendships, Scotch, traveling, in later years making his "Tin Men", and "pasta with red sauce."

Bennie was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Angie Wiita; brothers, Sam, Tony, Joe and Mike Francisco; his wives, Rosalyn Piano, Irene Varhulla and Lucille Yagoda.

Survivors include his daughters, Toni Rae (Richard) Landgren of Duluth, Nancy Ann (Thomas) Pollock of White Bear Lake, Minn., and Sarasota, Fla.; his grandchildren, Michael (Lori) Landgren, Kristi Landgren, Daniel (Kari) Landgren; step granddaughter, Mary Johnson; great grandchildren, Maria, Theresa, Thomas, Anthony, Daniel, Olivia and Ian Landgren; step great granddaughters, Jessica Tevik and Katherine Johnson; his brother, Armen Francisco of Duluth; his sister, Vicky "Dolly" Savage of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews.

MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010 in St. James Catholic Church in Duluth. A visitation will be held one hour prior to the funeral in the church. Interment will be at the Calvary Cemetery in Duluth. In lieu of flowers Bennie preferred memorials to the Duluth Italian American Club Scholarship Fund or Tidewell Hospice Philanthropy Dept. 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34238. Arrangements entrusted to the Dougherty Funeral Home, 600 E. 2nd St. Duluth, MN 55805.