Franklin (Frank) C. Jesse Jr. passed away peacefully, surrounded by loving family February 11, 2023.

The son of Ethel and Franklin C. Jesse, Sr., Frank was born August 10, 1941, in Appleton, WI. A proud Eagle Scout and graduate of Appleton High, Frank attended Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He joined Beta Theta Pi fraternity and worked his way through college, including as head waiter at the sorority house where Frank met his future wife and life partner, Lucretia (Cretia) Hall.

After graduating from Northwestern with a degree in psychology, Frank earned his MBA and JD, Law Review and Order of the Coif, from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He then became a partner in the Madison law firm Murphy, Huiskamp, Stolper, Brewster and Desmond. In 1974, Frank accepted the offer that forever changed the trajectory of his and his family’s lives: moving his family to Minneapolis to join The Pillsbury Company, where he served as Vice President and International Counsel (and later, Secretary). 

With his new focus on international law, Frank went from not having a passport to logging millions of flight miles across the globe. He fell in love with the diversity of cultures, philosophies and people he encountered in his travels. Lifelong friendships were forged. While at Pillsbury, Frank served on President Ronald Reagan’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control, also known as The Grace Commission. He took immense pride in being able to combine his work and public service.

In 1984, Frank joined the firm Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett, where he was recognized for expertise in international law, franchise, and mergers and acquisitions until his retirement in 2012. He developed a focus on Asia and kept an office in Beijing, China for 20 years. He left his imprint on international law as the U.S. representative for the International Institute for the Unification of Private Laws, a group unifying franchise law worldwide. 

Throughout his career, Frank was a leader on a variety of boards, including the insurance company founded by his father, Integrity Mutual, and the Japanese-owned company Zero-Max. His lifelong love of music led him to serve on the boards of the Minnesota Opera and Walker West Music Academy.

Alongside his remarkable professional career, Frank was an extraordinary husband, father, friend and community member. As a father, Frank’s greatest wish was to give his children roots and wings. His own roots in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, at the cottage built by Frank’s own father, became his children’s as well. A member of Plymouth Congregational Church, Frank exposed his children to an array of spiritual traditions, encouraging them to form their own beliefs. Values of kindness and integrity (“always do what’s right”) were abiding north stars.

Wings were launched through Frank’s focus on education, openness and curiosity across all facets of life, bolstered by his unwavering support for his children. He encouraged academic achievement but equally advocated for extracurricular interests such as music, physical fitness, and cultural exploration, all of which he modeled in his own life.

Frank’s curiosity and open-mindedness inspired him to try new things before they became mainstream. An early adopter of recreational running in the late ‘60s, Frank ran nearly 365 days a year around Minneapolis’ lakes, one or more family Vizslas in tow, and finished four Twin Cities Marathons. He taught himself yoga and meditation in the ‘70s. Frank stayed active with golf at Interlachen Country Club, weightlifting and Pilates throughout his life. His love of trying new things and striving to reach his potential extended to the kitchen, where he perfected his bread baking, omelet making and grilling.

His legacy lives on through his wife of 59 years, Lucretia (Hall) Jesse; children Kimberly (John) Hogan (Palm Beach, FL), Michelle Jesse (Minneapolis, MN), and David (Trevor) Jesse (Wilmette, IL); and grandchildren Ella and Caroline Hogan; William, Walter and Kate Jesse; and multiple Vizslas throughout the family.

A Celebration of Life will be held in June. In lieu of flowers, donations preferred to Walker West Music Academy, 760 Selby Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104.

Published on February 19, 2023