John Handy Jr., 89, seafood processor


John T. Handy Jr., a Crisfield native who long co-owned the seafood company that bears his family's name, died Tuesday of natural causes at a Beaverton, Ore., assisted-living facility. He was 89.

Mr. Handy had lived in Crisfield until two years ago, when he moved to Beaverton to be near his daughter after the death of his wife.

He was retired from what is now known as Handy International Inc., a Crisfield-based processor of soft-shell crabs.

Mr. Handy's father began the business in 1903 as a tomato and fish processor, according to a company Web site. John T. Handy Seafood Co. shifted emphasis to crabs in 1917, the site says.

After his father died, Mr. Handy owned the business with Stanley C. Sterling of Crisfield. They sold it in 1981. The company now has processing operations in Asia and South America. Mr. Sterling died in 2003.

"He did long hours when the crabs were coming in or when fish were coming in," said Mr. Handy's daughter, Susan H. Funk of Beaverton. "I can remember when there were storms, hurricanes, what have you, he was always down checking the freezers [at the plant] to ensure power didn't shut down."

Mr. Handy graduated from Crisfield High School in 1934 and went on to graduate from Lehigh University. He served in World War II as an Army lieutenant colonel with the Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner to the Central Intelligence Agency, his family said.

He served in the China-Burma-India theater and was awarded the Bronze Star.

He married Hannah W. Smith in April 1942, just before he began nearly four years of active duty.

During their 62 years of marriage, they visited at least 92 countries. Mr. Handy also enjoyed woodworking and built a 24-foot cabin cruiser on which he and his wife sailed.

In addition to running his business, Mr. Handy was a philanthropist who served on a number of boards. They included those of Edward W. McCready Memorial Hospital in Crisfield, Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, the Maryland Board of Natural Resources and the Crisfield Housing Authority.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Rehoboth Presbyterian Church, 5757 Coventry Parish Road, Westover.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by a son, John T. Handy III of Salisbury; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

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