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Eugene B. “Gene” Handsberry passed away on April 18, 2019. Gene was 90 years old. He was surrounded by family in his last days, as befits a life where he always gave everything he had to his family.
Gene was born March 31, 1929, in Leipsic, Delaware, the son of the late Walter Handsberry and Lillian Rusby. He often said that no boy had a better childhood. Gene graduated from Smyrna High School in 1947. He then attended Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree.
Gene spent many of his young days on the baseball field. He played second base throughout his years in high school and college. His skill on the ballfield caught the eye of the Philadelphia A’s. In the summer of 1951, not long after he was signed by the A’s, he was drafted into the US Army and spent the next two years serving in Korea.
After returning from Korea, Gene played semi-pro ball for both Smyrna and Kent in the Mar-Del and Bi-States Leagues. His baseball career culminated with his induction into the Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Also after the service, Gene began his career at Farmer’s Bank, where he met the love of his life, Carole. They wed in 1965, and had three daughters, Gina, Joy, and Lisa, who were his pride and joy. By this time, he had also opened Smyrna Sporting Goods, which he owned and operated for 50 years. Gene became a fixture at the corner of Main and Commerce, and the store became a gathering place for hunters and sportsmen of all kinds, a tradition that continues through today. Gene himself was an avid hunter and trapper spending many a day in the duck blind or on the marsh.
Gene was a devoted, selfless husband and father to his family. He greatly enjoyed coaching his daughters’ softball teams in the Smyrna Little Lass League. In his later years, he loved spending time with his family at home and in Rehoboth Beach on annual summer vacations. One of his biggest priorities in life was to support his daughters in their every endeavor.
Gene is preceded in death by his daughter, Joy Lynn Handsberry. He will be lovingly and forever remembered by his wife of 53 years, Carole; his daughters, Gina Beth Handsberry, and Lisa (Jim) Harp; his grandchildren, Maxwell Dryfoos, Jack Harp, and Julia Harp.
Services for Gene will be at Faries Funeral Home, 29 S Main Street, Smyrna, DE 19977, on Saturday, April 27. Visitation will be from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m., with a service at 1:30 p.m. Reception to follow at the Smyrna High School Cafeteria.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Ducks Unlimited, www.ducks.org.
Condolence letters may be sent by visiting www.fariesfuneralhome.com.