For 36 years, students were central to the life of former Hartnell Dean of Students June Handley. “She loved Hartnell College and her students, and was proud to be an educator,” according to cousin Garon Handley.
William Barr, Monterey County superintendent of schools, who knew Ms. Handley when he was a Hartnell student, said she was “both passionate and compassionate, a scholar excited about sharing her academic expertise and a human being who understood the personal concerns of her students.”
Ms. Handley died in July of last year at the age of 86 as the result of injuries she sustained in a fall.
But her concern to help students will continue after her death as the result of a scholarship she established in 1977 when she retired from Hartnell. An endowment was created upon her death that will provide scholarships for deserving Hartnell students in the years to come.
Born in San Jose, Ms. Handley was raised in the Mission District of Soledad and attended Gonzales High School. Upon graduation from San Jose State University, she went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. She taught at Lincoln Elementary School in Salinas before joining the Hartnell faculty in 1941 as a physical education and nutrition instructor. She later served in several administrative position at the college, the last being dean of students. She was the first woman to serve on Hartnell’s Faculty Senate.
Betty Binsacca, one of Ms. Handley’s students in the late 1940s, remembers her as being “a wonderful instructor and a warm, very thorough, no-nonsense person.” Four of Ms. Handley’s cousins—Tim, Wayne, Dale and Garon Handley—attended Hartnell and knew the no-nonsense part of her personality. Reflects Garon: “When each of us began our studies at Hartnell, she would call us into her office and tell us we would receive no breaks or special treatment because we were related. We were terrified.”
Ms. Handley also was known to be a woman of strong determination. “She was the original liberated woman,” says cousin Garon Handley. “She did not sit on the sideline.”
In 1951, she wanted to build a cabin near Lake Tahoe. Enlisting the help of her father and some friends, the 700-foot, A-frame cabin was built. And June Handley herself carried many of the stones and wood used in its construction.
A former California Rodeo sweetheart, Ms. Handley enjoyed animals, especially her dog Taffy. She traveled all over the world, loved to play poker and was known to have a heavy foot when it came to driving.
A member of the American Association of University Women, Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority, and the California Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Ms. Handley also was a volunteer at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital for 20 years. Remembered as a kind, gentle woman by many of her friends, she was known for visiting her contemporaries who were hospitalized or who were in nursing homes. Cousin Randy Handley said she would do anything for a friend.
Hartnell College and the Hartnell College Foundation appreciates Ms. Handley’s generous gift.