Jean M. Handley

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  • "Jean Handley was very kind and welcoming to me when I first..."
    - Marian Breeze
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    - Christina Montanari
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    - George Synodi
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Jean M. Handley, 83, of Guilford, died at home on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010.

She was born in Manchester, daughter of Margaret I. Handley and Francis P Handley. A graduate of the Loomis Chaffee School and Connecticut College, Jean also received a master's degree from Northwestern University and held honorary foctorates from Albertus Magnus College and the University of New Haven. As a 30-year veteran of AT&T and SNET, Jean quietly climbed the ranks, retiring as vice president of public and corporate relations in 1989. Among her many accomplishments as a groundbreaking businesswoman, she was elected, in an unprecedented vote, as the first female member of the Quinnipiack Club. Before her election, women attending business meetings at the club had to enter through its kitchen. An avid lover of the arts and New Haven, Jean passionately strove to inspire and enrich others through her varied community services. A longtime board member of LEAP, Long Wharf Theatre, and the New Haven Symphony, Jean was also emeritus trustee of Connecticut College and UNH, and in 1996, a co-founder of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. A recipient of numerous awards, she most recently received the Connecticut Arts Council C. Newton Schenk III Award for Lifetime Achievement. Here she was recognized as a "lifelong champion of the region's arts organizations and an individual of exceedingly high standards."

She is survived by her sister, Judith H. Garvey of West Chester, Pa.; her nieces, Margaret and Elizabeth; two grandnieces; and a grandnephew.

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. George Church, 33 Whitfield St., Guilford, on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 11:30 a.m.

Family members will be receiving guests 10 to 11 a.m. in the church's lower level.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, 195 Church St., New Haven, CT 06511; LEAP, 31 Jefferson St., New Haven, CT 06511; and Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven, CT 06511. Arrangements in care of the Guilford Funeral Home, 115 Church St., Guilford.

For more information or to place an online condolence, please visit

Published in Journal Inquirer from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, 2010
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