Raymond J. “Ray” Franckowiak, 72, of Gnesen Township died on Wednesday January 6, 2021 at Chris Jensen Health & Rehabilitation Center. He was born in Duluth on January 27, 1948 to Joseph and Helen (Wengrin) Franckowiak. Ray graduated from Duluth Central High School, Class of 66. He married Marie Leyes on October 22, 1977 in St. Benedict Catholic Church, Duluth.
Ray started his career as a welder and a glass cutter working at various shops in Duluth. He eventually found his home at MN/DOT as a plow driver and highway construction and maintenance worker. He retired from MN/DOT after 22 years of dedicated service from a job he loved. He often said that his only regret from his time at MN/DOT was that he would have liked to be able to have another 10 years there. Upon retirement, Ray decided he wanted to spend his time at home in the garage while Marie decided she wanted to spend the time they had to do some traveling. So, travel they did. Western Canada, Utah & New Mexico, Washington DC, and Cape Cod were some of their favorites. He was a lifelong parishioner of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Gnesen. Ray was very adept at all things mechanical. He loved working in his garage on building, modifying, or restoring everything from plow trucks and classic cars, to snowmobiles and track vehicles, to skid steers, wood processors and many other hydraulic-powered toys. He prided himself in his ability to build just about anything from only a picture. Ray raised his 3 boys to share his passion for fixing things, and always took the time to help out or give advice to anyone in need. He was never bashful to tell anyone that would listen about how proud he was of his sons. Ray was always happy when he had a wrench in his hand and dirt under his fingernails.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by his wife Marie, sons Michael, Mark (Laura), and Matthew (Christie), and many cousins.
Visitation will be held on Sunday January 10, 2021 in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Gnesen, 6110 Church Rd, Duluth, MN 55803 from 2PM until 4PM, visitation continues in the church on Monday January 11, 2021 from 10AM until the 11AM Mass of Christian Burial. Burial will be in St. Joseph’s Cemetery. Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home. 600 E. 2nd St. Duluth, MN 55805. 218-727-3555.