Edmund Joseph Handley died of natural causes at the Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook University May 11 at the age of 91.
Born in Astoria, Feb. 27, 1929, Edmund was raised by his single mother, Bridget McGhee, and his older Rowan siblings Tom, Jane and Sarah. After graduating from high school, Edmund served in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Korean War years. Upon his return, he graduated from Pace University and began work in construction sales in New York City. In the summers, he served as a state lifeguard in Rockaway Beach.
Edmund met his beloved Australian wife, Janette (Carter), and married her in 1966. The duo left Queens and moved to the Three Village area in 1969. Together, they raised their four children Siobhan, Tara, Shannon and Sean. After retiring from his sales position in the city, Edmund and Janette opened Budget Print Center in Stony Brook in 1978. As a small business owner, Edmund, along with his wife, immersed himself in myriad facets of the Three Village community. He was a member of the Rotary Club of Stony Brook and served as its president in 1987. He and Janette were strong believers in the Rotary’s host student program and hosted five students from various countries while their own children were in high school.
Edmund was extremely active in his church parish, St. James R.C. Church in Setauket, and was one of the founding members of its weekly soup kitchen called Our Daily Bread. In this capacity, he cooked meals for the homeless for 15 years. Edmund delivered meals through Three Village Meals on Wheels for over 15 years. He spent a great deal of his time at the Stony Brook Yacht Club where he served in many roles over the years. An avid boater, fisherman and swimmer, he could often be seen on his boat with his kids and one of his many Labrador retrievers. In 2017, he was presented with a lifetime award for his service to the club. In all of his endeavors, Edmund was known for his love of family — especially his wife and children and dogs — his generous spirit, his strong belief in “giving back” to his community and, most notably, his quick wit and smile.
Edmund is survived by his wife Janette; his children Siobhan Handley (Will Ketterer), Tara McKnight (Todd Rexroth), Shannon Handley (John Grossman), and Sean Handley (Jennifer Lewis Handley); grandchildren Brooks McKnight, Sean Grossman, Maeve Ketterer, Bridget Grossman, Finn Ketterer and Charlotte Handley: his sister Jane Hickey; loving nieces and nephews: and countless good friends.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Bryant Funeral Home in East Setauket. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to be made in memory of Edmund J. Handley to either:
The Long Island State Veterans Home, 100 Patriots Road, Stony Brook, NY 11790 (veteranshome.stonybrookmedicine.edu/donate); or Hope House Ministries, P.O. Box 358, 1 High St., Port Jefferson, NY 11777 (www.hhm.org/help.html).
Three Village Residents Remember
The Three Village Historical Society sent an email to its members to notify them of Edmund Handley’s passing.
“Janette and Edmund are treasured friends both professionally and personally to the society and have been longtime supporters of TVHS in many, many aspects,” the email read.
Mary Ann McAvoy, a volunteer with Three Village Meals on Wheels, described Handley as “a very generous man.” She said her husband Ed McAvoy and another friend would make deliveries with Handley when they all volunteered for Meals on Wheels. For years, “after delivering meals, the men always went for a burger at Tara’s in Port Jefferson which capped off the day.”
Dan Berger, director of public relations for the Rotary Club of Stony Brook, said Handley was president of the club during the 1987-88 fiscal year.
“He had a dry wit and led the club with an easy style,” Berger said. “A key part of his presidency was his family — children at Rotary meetings and Janette, his ever-present wife, helping in the editing and printing of The Brooklet (the Rotary newsletter). He was one of our best presidents and a devoted long-term member of the club. He was also a Paul Harris Fellow — an honor bestowed on special members, such as Edmund Handley.”