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Jean Alice (Faulkner) Handke, 92, Woodstock

Jean Alice (Faulkner) Handke died Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, at Hearthstone Manor, Woodstock, joining her beloved husband, Jim. 

She was born Nov. 24, 1923, to James and Ruth (Williams) Faulkner in Chicago.

On July 31, 1949, she married James Handke in San Jose, Ill.

She resided there until the family moved to Wheaton in 1932. She graduated from Wheaton High School in 1941, and continued her education at Western Illinois University in Macomb, where she received a Bachelor in Education in 1946.

She began her teaching career in San Jose where she taught commercial subjects at San Jose High School for four years. It was there that she met and married her husband. They resided in San Jose for five more years, where they started their family. Later, the family moved to her parent’s farm on Edgewood Road in Crystal Lake, where their third child was born. 

Her career as an educator spanned more than 35 years in Crystal Lake. She returned to school at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, where she earned her master’s degree in outdoor education in 1973. For 13 years, she was outdoor education director for School District 47. She retired from teaching in 1988. 

She spent many years volunteering with the Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts. She was also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and volunteered at Sherman Hospital, the food pantry, Meals On Wheels and Helping Paws. As a longtime member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Crystal Lake, she served as a Sunday school teacher for 15 years and on the altar guild and volunteered at PADS.

After retiring, travel became her obsession, visiting 49 of the 50 states along with travels to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. An avid camper, she and her husband had many camping adventures. In 2006, they moved to Hearthstone Village for physical reasons. She enjoyed running the “store” at Hearthstone Village and keeping the Hearthstone Library organized.

Survivors include two daughters, Bev (Rich) Hodges, Woodstock, and Jan Handke, Freeport; a son, Cary (Linda Roth) Handke, Schaumburg; three grandsons, Jason (Kerry) Hodges, Nathan (Kelly) Hodges and Louis Handke-Roth; five great-grandchildren, James, Savannah, Mae, Grady and Kordell Hodges; a brother, James (Irma) Faulkner, Rushford, Minn.; a brother-in-law, Raymond Renken, Mason City; and many nieces and nephews across the country.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years, her parents and a sister, Ruth (Faulkner) Ottoson. 

A memorial gathering will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, until the memorial service at 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 201 W. South St., Woodstock.

Memorial contributions can be made to Hearthstone Early Learning Center or the McHenry County Historical Society.

Arrangements were made by Schneider-Leucht-Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home.

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