On April 30, 1924, it was reported there were 26 tornadoes that ripped through the country from Alabama all the way up to Virginia. In Wilkes County, a tornado of a woman, Hazel Higgins Handy, entered this world and was a force of nature to all she knew. She passed away Wednesday, July 17, 2019.

She worked hard and played hard, but, most importantly, she loved hard. Never having been one to focus on material wealth, she placed her values in those she held dear, and she was always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. She is remembered as a strong, independent woman who had a deep and unconditional love for her family that left a lasting impact on the ones she left behind. She raised more than her fair share of children, and she defended them with the ferocity of a mama bear. She never failed to give them a home filled with love and her country cooking.

Fond memories are filled with family and close friends, sitting around the table playing cards or picking and singing, going to the local auction or going on a camping trip to Cherokee with her extended family. Laughter was always abundant with her sharp sense of humor, and she made sure no one left with an empty stomach. She touched the lives of all she met.

From the day she fell sick, she was never alone, surrounded by the family she held so dear. Her passing was peaceful, and it was a warm, inviting day with a gentle breeze to reflect her kind and gentle soul. She now walks with those who went before her: her beloved husband, Ambrose; her two sons, Vade and Jackie Handy; her sister, Nellie; and her brothers.

She will be missed dearly, but for those she left behind, they will carry on with the warmth in their hearts they learned from her. She leaves her younger brother Jim Higgins; her eldest son, Wade Handy; her daughters, Loretta Henson and husband, Curtis Henson, and Rosalee Mastin and husband, Alan Mastin; her youngest son, Paul Handy and wife, Kathy Handy; three grandchildren, Melissa Shrewsbury and husband, Jeremy Shrewsbury, Wesley Handy and Jacob Handy; and her two great-grandchildren, Chelsee Adams and Hayden Shrewsbury.

We will be waiting for the day when we can see her once again and feel the warmth of her love fill our souls. Until that day, we celebrate her life and remain thankful for the time we had with her.

A private family service will be held.

Flowers will be accepted or memorials may be made to Wake Forest Baptist Health and Hospice, 126 Executive Drive, Suite 110, Wilkesboro, N.C. 28697.

Miller Funeral Service is in charge of the arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.millerfuneralservice.com.

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