Gladys Grace Shumate Handy of Roaring River went to be with her Lord and Savior on Sunday, May 26, 2019. She passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by her family while they serenaded her with many of her favorite gospel songs and reading of scripture.

She was lovingly cared for by her sons and daughters as her health declined. She was visited daily by friends and extended family members. Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints.”

Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, at Middle Cross Baptist Church, with Pastor Jason Whitley, Pastor Donnie Shumate and Pastor Joe Sturgill officiating. The body will be in the sanctuary Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., 30 minutes prior to the service. Burial will be at Middle Cross Baptist church cemetery.  The family will receive friends from 6 until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, at Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home.

Gladys was born to the late Charles “Charlie” and Mamie Lowe Shumate on May 10, 1928.

Gladys was the widow of Lonnie Caldwell Handy, to whom she was married for 63 years. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by two daughters, 11-month-old Clara Belle Handy and Peggy (Steven) Knox; a great-grandson, Caleb Benfield; two sisters, Mable (Elder Fred) Shumate Dillard and Irene (Rayford) Shumate Handy Crouch; and her brothers, Tracy (Faye) Shumate, Paul (Hazel) Shumate, Clay Shumate, Jimmy Shumate and Conard (Louie) Shumate.

She is survived by her children, Joyce (Bobby) Handy Faw of Hays, Marie (Milton) Handy Jolly of North Wilkesboro, Carl (Tammy) Handy of Roaring River, Mary (James) Handy Minton of Hays and Ray (Deborah) Handy of North Wilkesboro.

Gladys is also survived by 14 grandchildren, Shelly (Bob) Faw Benfield, Alisa (Chris) Faw, Dawson, Kristina (Monroe) Faw Hawkins, Jeff (Christy) Jolly, Michael (Amanda) Jolly, Wendy McKeenan, Tim (Tara) Handy, Matt (Angel) Handy, Amy (James) Williams, Kurtis (AnnaLisa) Parker, Logan Parker, Robbie (Melissa) Martin, Stacee (Adam) Whitley and Stephanee Lee; 42 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren, making five generations; and several special nieces and nephews.

Gladys worked in the cafeteria of Roaring River Elementary School and was a homemaker. She had a strong love of family and her faith was extremely important to her. Her life verse was, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” -- Joshua 24:15 -- which was also her testimony throughout her life. Going to church was her greatest joy. She was a charter member of Middle Cross Baptist Church in the Rock Creek community and was also its oldest member. She was faithful to her church as long as her health allowed, and would cry on Sundays when she was not able to attend.  She especially loved her pastor, Brother Jason Whitley and wife, Elaine, and her Senior Adult Sunday Class that was taught for years, by Brother Earl Alexander, and which is now taught by her son, Ray Handy.

Gladys grew up in the Depression years and learned to be frugal at an early age. She lived a simple and humble life.  She liked to use things until they were worn out or rusted out, and only then would they be thrown away. She was a skilled seamstress who made items of clothing for all of her children while they were young. She quilted blankets and sewed handmade items for all of her grandchildren. She was an avid gardener and especially loved helping her son, Carl, with his garden, which they were both blessed by sharing with others. She particularly loved roses and hens and diddles. She enjoyed collecting antique glassware, hens-on-nests and thimbles from around the world. One of her favorite pastimes was chatting on the phone with family and friends, and she always did what she could to help others.

She will be missed by all who knew and loved her, leaving a legacy that will last for generations to come. You can say hers was a life well-lived.

Special thanks to Wake Forest Care at Home Hospice, Pauline Watts, Megan Cheek, Ashley White, Kimberly Bush, Ben Lankford and retired hospice nurse Judy Kirk.

Flowers will be accepted or memorials may be made to Gideon’s International North Camp, P.O. Box 1791, North Wilkesboro, N.C. 28659 or the Middle Cross Baptist Church Building Fund, 2305 Rock Creek Road, North Wilkesboro, N.C. 28659.

Online condolences may be made at

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