Franklin Dean Rice

Franklin Dean Rice, 39 of Hibbing, Minn., died tragically on Thursday, Nov.12, 2020. He was taken all too soon.

Frankie was born on Nov. 28,1980, in Hibbing, to Frank Rice and Lori (Rice) Potter. Frankie’s entrance into this world was much like how he lived his life; by the seat of his pants and against all odds.

From the beginning, anyone who knew Frankie-knew he was special. His zest for life was both contagious and exhausting. His childhood was full of adventures; which kept him in trouble more than out of trouble (and he wouldn’t have had it any other way).

Frankie attended Hibbing schools and graduated in 1998. He was not a traditional student and often struggled with the actual “school stuff” but seemed to flourish at the “social” aspect of school. Part of Frankie’s education included a work program. It was then that he started his job at MDI. For most, this would have been simply a first job, but for Frankie it was his first step in a lifelong commitment to MDI. Frankie considered MDI home and his many co-workers family. Our family has been honored and humbled by the responses from his co-workers on how he has enhanced, enlightened and changed their lives.

It was at MDI in 2005, that he met Nina Munoz, the mother of his daughter, Heaven. Heaven is, was and will always be his pride and joy. Anyone who knew Frankie, knew of his daughter. Frankie would have done anything for her. She was his reason to believe, live and love. Through her, he will live on.

Though Frankie loved work and worked hard, he still found plenty of time to have fun. He could drive anything with a motor and wreck it faster then one would think possible. Anything that was loud, dirty and dangerous was his cup of Mt. Dew. He always took time off from work to go deer hunting with the Day Lake Road crew and sometimes he even got a deer. He spent many days/evenings fishing with his dad, stepdad and friends. Anytime he had cash in his pockets, you could find him at the Hibbing Raceway-in his ‘spot.’ He loved the noise, the speed, the crowd and the racers.

Frankie was authentic. Who else do you know that could rock, thick black hair (in various states of grooming), more facial and body hair than a bear, greasy jeans, various racing and/or cheesy novelty shirts (often with holes) and a baseball cap? He never needed to pretend to be anything, he simply was himself. He had a heart of gold and was the most nonjudgmental, giving and loving person most knew. He showed the same respect to the CEO as he did a homeless person. He would even go so far as to offer said homeless person a safe place to crash until they got back on their feet. It’s just who he was.

He had the ability to befriend anyone. A simple 10-minute trip to the store would often result in a two hour event. He “knew” everyone and would always take the time to stop and “shoot the breeze.” Because of all the people that he knew-he was like a live action google search. If ever you needed to find something he would know where to look and/or who to call.

Frankie’s tragic passing has been hard for so many. We all have to learn how to navigate this new world without him. I challenge everyone reading this to go forward, be kind to all, and be a light for others to follow. If ever you are feeling sad or lost just think ‘what would Frankie do?’ the response is sure to make you feel his love, make you smile, maybe even make you laugh out loud and most likely get you into a little bit of trouble.

Just remember, everyday has the possibility of being “just another day in paradise” you just have to believe.

Frankie is survived by his daughter, Heaven of Coachella, Calif.; his mother, Lori (Brian) Potter of Hibbing; uncle, Larry Weberg of Kelly Lake; and his siblings: Heather (Cole) Jeffers of Hibbing, Meredith (Jeff) Salus of East Bethel, Minn., and Karl (Brandi) Potter of Kansas City, Mo.; nieces and nephews: Mason, Jase, David, Morgan, Eloise and Harlan; many aunts, uncles and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his father, Frank Rice; paternal grandparents, Marvin and Shirley Rice; maternal great-grandmother, ‘Old Grandma’; and maternal grandparents, Dean and Maxine Weberg.

The family invites everyone to the visitation from 1 to 2:45 p.m. Thursday Nov. 19, at Dougherty Funeral Home. Due to COVID restrictions there will be a private service for family at 3 p.m. We will Facebook Live this event so anyone who wants to ‘watch’ and be a part of the service can.

Funeral arrangements are with Dougherty Funeral Home in Hibbing.

To send flowers to the family of Franklin Rice, please visit Tribute Store.

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