Eleanor Roxanne (Gassaway) Handley

Alton | Saturday, June 21 2014

Eleanor Roxanne (Gassaway) Handley passed away peacefully at 2 pm on June 21, 2014, at her home in Alton, Illinois.

She was born in Mound City, Illinois on October 20, 1940. Her parents were Frank M. and Gladys (Schuler) Gassaway. She was the granddaughter of Edward Schuler, whom she admired and loved dearly.

Roxanne graduated from Mound City High School and Southern Illinois University. In college, she worked at Civil Service Testing where she met James Handley, who become the love of her life. They married on June 24, 1967 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Mound City. They lived in Alton for Forty-five years until Jim’s death in 2012. Roxanne remained a resident of Alton until her passing.

Roxanne taught in the Ferguson-Florissant School District for twenty-three years. She taught English, journalism, and student council. She was English Department Chairperson for 10 years.

After retiring from teaching, she volunteered in the Literacy Program as a tutor and at Caravan Oasis Thrift Shop. She was a member of the Salvation Army Board for fifteen years and served during the Flood of ’93. She also volunteered for various activities that her husband was involved with and there were many.

Although she never had any children, she felt as though she had many. She dearly loved the nieces and nephews and stayed in touch with many of her students.

Roxanne was preceded in death by her husband, father, and grandparents.

She is survived by her mother, Gladys Gassaway of Centralia, Illinois and her sister, Conchitta Grabowski and brother-in-law, Lawrence Grabowski of Centralia and their four children: Dr. Stephen Tad Grabowski and wife Sharon, Joan Rockey and husband Christopher, Dr. Mary Grabowski-Schmitt and husband Nathan of the Chicago area suburbs and Dr. Lawra Vanderhoof and husband Michael of Grand Junction, Colorado. Grandnieces and grandnephews include Matthew, Alec, and Jillian Grabowski, Ellery, Hadley, and Cooper Rockey, Eade and Hanna Vanderhoof, and Arya Schmitt. She is also survived by her husband’s dear niece and nephew, Mike Harrison and wife Joan and JoAnn Ferrell and husband Randy.

There will be no funeral services and burial will be private. Cremation rites were accorded.

Memorials may be made to the charity of one’s choice.

Online condolences and guest book may be found at

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