Jeno Paulucci, pizza roll architect, dies at 93

By the Associated Press | November 25, 2011 | 12:05 AM EST

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Jeno Paulucci, a Minnesota business icon whose restaurant ventures included a company that popularized the finger food known as pizza rolls, has died. He was 93.

Paulucci's daughter Cindy Paulucci Selton tells the Duluth News-Tribune (http://bit.ly/rW7fP3) he died Thursday morning at his Duluth home. His wife, Lois, had died just four days earlier.

In 1944, Paulucci founded Duluth-based Chun King, which sold a line of canned Chinese food. More than two decades later, he sold that company to R.J. Reynolds Food Inc.

He'd become the first chairman of R.J. Reynolds Food Co. before returning to entrepreneurial work and establishing Jeno's Inc., which specialized in the finger-food snacks called pizza rolls. It grew to be Duluth's largest employer and was sold to Pillsbury in 1985 for $135 million.

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Information from: Duluth News Tribune, http://www.duluthsuperior.com