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ORLANDO-Leo Trepanier, the Duluth, MN entrepreneur who moved to Central Florida 50 years ago and began buying strategic land parcels and vegetable farms for international frozen food magnate and real estate developer Jeno F. Paulucci, is being buried today in Sanford, FL where he lived and worked.

Trepanier died Oct. 7 at 87. Paulucci, 78, is Trepanier’s brother-in-law. Paulucci has been married to Trepanier’s sister, the former Lois Mae Trepanier, for 55 years.

Trepanier is the man behind the man who built the affluent community of Heathrow, FL, 25 miles north of Downtown Orlando. Trepanier quietly assembled 3,000 acres that Paulucci crafted into Heathrow 25 years ago.

Longtime Orlando area land brokers tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity some of the 3,000 acres were purchased for less than a penny per sf. Today, some of the commercial acreage in Heathrow goes for at least $1 million per acre or $22.96 per sf, brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

Trepanier also acquired the 200-acre L&L Acres Ranch where he lived and raised prize Santa Gertrudis cattle. He offered the ranch free of charge to numerous civic groups such as the Lake Mary-Heathrow Festival of the Arts and the Boys Scouts for their annual events. His deceased wife of 51 years was Florence Trepanier.

Along the way, Trepanier and his sister, Mrs. Paulucci, jointly acquired 800 acres in nearby Chuluota, FL as an investment.

Besides land, Trepanier bought celery and wild rice farms for years in Minnesota and Canada for one of Paulucci’s former flagship companies, Chun King. Paulucci started Chun King in 1945 with a loan of $2,500 from a friend and sold the company in 1966 to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for $63 million cash.

In Central Florida, Paulucci’s name is synonymous with real estate development in every category.

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