Florian Frank “Ben” Bednarski, 87, of Grand Rapids, formerly of Finland, died Jan. 7, 2011, at St. Luke’s hospital in Duluth following a brief illness.
He was born Sept. 17, 1923, in Washburn, Wis., the son of Frank and Lucille (Wroblewski) Bednarski.
Ben attended school in Washburn. He proudly served his country in the United States Navy during World War II, achieving the status of electrician’s mate first class. He was also a cryptograph operator.
Ben worked for Reserve Mining Company for 26 years, retiring as a shift foreman in 1982. He previously worked for Hunkin, Arundel & Dixon in the construction of the taconite facility in Silver Bay.
He married Eleanore Tonka Dec. 17, 1949. They made their home in Finland, where they raised their four children, moving to Grand Rapids in 1997.
Ben was an avid North Shore stream and Lake Superior fisherman, a builder and remodeler of several homes, and a wonderful gardener who maintained an organic garden for several years. In later years he was a proud craftsman of diamond willow canes and walking sticks.
He is survived by his loving Eleanore, his wife of 61 years; three sons, Donald of White Bear Lake, David of Duluth, and Robert (Diane) of Lake-ville; and one daughter, Deborah (Jim) Hahn, Grand Rapids; two granddaughters, Anissa (Mike) Raleigh, Still- water; Jodi (Sean) Conlin, Duluth; two grandsons, Donald and Blake Bednarski, White Bear Lake; two step-grandsons, two step-granddaughters, one great grandson, and two great-granddaughters.
He is also survived by four sisters, Barbara Krug of St. Petersburg, Fla., Dorothy (Richard) Kolinski, Charlotte, (Robert) Kedrowski, Elizabeth Suchoski; and one brother, John (Janet) Bednarski, all of Stevens Point, Wis.; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and lifetime friends, including his Navy buddy and best friend of 70 years, Theodore Dannekar of Oklahoma City.
He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Bernard.
Ben will be sadly missed by all who loved him and had the pleasure of knowing his wonderful sense of humor.
A memorial and celebration of life service will be held at the Minnesota Cremation Society, 4100 Grand Avenue, Duluth., at 11 a.m. Saturday. The family will greet visitors one hour prior to the service.