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Helen Louise Handy

1918 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Helen Louise Handy Obituary
Helen Louise Handy

Reno - Helen Louise Landers Handy was born on Christmas day, 1918 at the end of WWI. She was the first child of Michael and Jane Landers, Irish immigrants who emigrated in 1905. Michael and Jane lived in Oakland, California where Michael worked at the ship yards and Jane had a rooming house. Helen attended grade and high school in Tonopah graduating second in her class in 1936. She was active in several clubs including band. At 5'10" she played jump center on her girls high school basketball team. Helen earned money in her school years styling lady's hair and in the Landers chicken business. Her father Michael thought chickens were a real money maker, so he put a chicken pen, and Helen gathered eggs and fed, plucked and delivered the chickens to neighbors. Helen wondered where her sisters were to help in this thriving chicken business.

The Landers moved to Reno, Nevada in 1936. Michael Landers then worked for the Nevada highway department. Jane Landers bought a rooming house at 333 West Street in Reno. Helen worked at various jobs in Reno including bookkeeping for a mining company, a dress shop and a bar. She accepted a scholarship to Modesto junior college and took classes in bookkeeping, typing and short hand. She was accepted at Stanford University but was unable to raise the funds to attend. Later in the 1930's she took a secretarial position at Glenbrook resort at Lake Tahoe. She met many celebrities over those years including Betty Davis and the Marx brothers. She also worked for the IRS as a payroll clerk.

When the war came, Helen organized girls to attend dances with the service men at Stead Air Base. It was at Stead that Helen met her future husband, Max Handy. Helen's romance with Max grew, and in 1943 she took a train down South and they were married in 1943 in Gadsden, Alabama. Helen took a variety of jobs with CPA firms in the South as Max moved to various bases. In those years they met other young couples who became life long friends.

When Max was assigned by the Army/Air Force overseas to the Philippines in 1943, Helen returned to Reno to await his return. The war ended in 1945 with Max Handy returning home. Michael Handy was born in 1946, Patricia in 1948, and Timothy in 1953. The 1950's and 1960's centered around family including the PTA, cub scouts, girl scouts, sports for Michael and Timothy, dancing and piano for Patty.

In 1961, they decided Max should attend printing press school in Tennessee. When Max's schooling finished in 1961, the family moved for Max's new job in Omaha, Nebraska. The family bought a house in Omaha. Helen returned to school getting her teaching credential and doing her student teaching year in Omaha.

Max Handy seriously injured his hand in a printing press accident in 1962. Max and Helen decided they would return the family to Reno in 1963. Helen became a teacher at Jessie Beck school where she remained for her teaching career. During this time, she continued taking classes at Nevada leading to a master's degree in 1976 with a specialty in reading. It was during these years she got her greatest career satisfaction teaching children with reading difficulties so they could pursue their education. She used several methods for teaching and developed teaching and testing materials. Max Handy died in 1985. Helen decided to continue teaching until she retired in 1989. Her granddaughter Cheryl died in 1994 and her daughter Patty in 1998.

During post retirement she and her family traveled. They went on an Ireland tour in 1995 seeing the country her parents Michael and Jane left ninety years earlier. The trip included London. Cruises followed with two trips to the Caribbean, and an Alaskan cruise. Helen spent her retirement years continuing her communication with family, friends and activity at St. Alberts. She belonged to a bridge group that began in the 1950's. She was active in Delta Kappa Gamma, a teaching sorority.

Her lingering memory will be the interest she took in people and hearing about their lives. This included family and friends as well as casual acquaintances. She had many lifelong friends she'd known and followed for decades. She was the family historian with a wonderful capacity to remember names.

Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Max; daughter, Patricia; granddaughter Cheryl; parents Michael and Jane Landers.

Helen is survived by son Michael (Debra) Handy, Timothy (Carolyn) Handy); grandchildren Michael, Dorilee, Maxwell, Heather, Kristi, Loren; great grandchildren Hunter, Delaney, Roan, Henry, Luke, Owen , Dalton, Courtney, Isaac.

A Rosary will be Friday, September 21st at 2:30PM at the Walton's O'Brien-Roger & Crosby Funeral Home: 600 W 2nd Street, Reno. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church, 1255 St. Albert's Drive, Reno, NV at 12:00PM on September 24th. The family invites you to leave a condolence message on the book of memories at:
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal on Sept. 16, 2018
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