In Memory of





Obituary for George Elliott Handley Jr.

George Elliott Handley, resident of The Village at Orchard Ridge in Winchester, VA, died Friday, December 20, 2019 after a brief illness.
He is survived by his children John Elliott Handley of Falls Church, VA and Sarah Margaret Handley of Charlottesville, VA, his daughter-in-law Elena Maria (Hidalgo) Handley, his grandchildren Laura Kathryn, Alex Elliott, James Michael, and Joseph Edward, and his granddaughter-in-law Jess Miers. He is preceded in death by his daughter Elizabeth (Beth) Freed Handley of Roanoke, VA.
George was born April 12, 1930 in Newburgh, NY to George Elliott and Margaret Dorothy (Strunck) Handley. He graduated from Wagner College, Staten Island, NY and received his Master of Divinity from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. He was ordained in 1956 through the New York and New England Synod, ULCA. He was married in 1957 to Miriam Miller (Jervis) Handley, currently of Staunton, VA. They shared an almost 40-year marriage and were devoted and loving parents and grandparents.
He did an internship on the Islands of St. Thomas and St. John, USVI at The Frederick Lutheran Church (Charlotte-Amalie) and Nazareth Lutheran Church (Cruz Bay), and then served parishes in Jamaica, Queens, NY (St. Thomas, now New Hope), York, PA (Christ), Waynesboro, VA (Grace), Trenton, NJ (Redeemer), and Gaithersburg, MD (Good Shepherd). Additionally, he held positions as Administrative Assistant to the Bishop/Secretary of the Virginia Synod, LCA in Roanoke, VA, and Coordinator of the ELCA’s Region 7 Center for Mission in Philadelphia, PA.
He was the author of several books – Welcome to the Lord’s Table - Book for Parents (1971), We Bring This Child (1983), Lutherans in Virginia 1962-1987 - 2 Volumes (1987), Biographical Sketches of Lutheran Pastors in Virginia 1820-1987 (1989), We Are Marching by the Grace of God (1999); and numerous articles and devotional materials. He helped support congregations throughout the Northeast Region of the ELCA in managing their archives and telling the story of the Church.
George was an opera-lover, a passion which began when he was a student at Wagner College, utilizing the music department’s tickets to attend the New York Metropolitan Opera. He also loved creating art. His colorful and whimsical style of drawing incorporated flowers and plants from the natural world, Biblical quotations and symbols, and stained-glass images into cards and wall-hangings that were shared with friends and family far and wide.
A service of celebration for his life will be held Friday, December 27, 2019 at 10am at the chapel at The Village at Orchard Ridge, 400 Clocktower Ridge Dr., Winchester, VA. The family will greet friends and loved ones afterward. A committal will be held later in the day at Grace Lutheran Church in Waynesboro.
Memorial contributions in his name may be made to:
Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp & Retreat Center (
2239 Camp Roosevelt Road, Fort Valley, VA 22652
Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia (
7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119