Cover photo for J. Barbara Handelman's Obituary
J. Barbara Handelman Profile Photo

J. Barbara Handelman

August 6, 1930 — November 28, 2023

Wife, Mom and Baba, J. Barbara Handelman, led her 93 years with love. She died on November 28 at Benton House of Staley Hills Assisted Living. Born in Jefferson City, Barbara was a 1952 graduate of Saint Mary’s Hospital Nursing School. After working as a nurse in Missouri, Illinois and New Jersey, she culminated her hospital nursing career at the old Menorah Medical Center. A longtime resident of Overland Park, Barbara and her husband, Bernard, owned a skilled nursing service and durable medical equipment company until their retirement in 1985. Such health care services were new to the Kansas City area at the time, and the pair set the tone for others to be measured.

Barbara generously shared her unmatched thirst for knowledge. She took her young six children to a nearby town to give them the experience of riding the rails and trekked the city to help them spot rare specimens for school leaf projects. She shared her vast doll collection with local Girl Scout troops and traveled with her adult grandchildren to Florida, Canada, China, Ireland and other far-off places. Never prideful, she rather sought to share the gift of awe. At 90, Barbara took on a new pursuit, dog transports. Over more than two years, she accompanied her daughter on 40 transport legs, loving on rescue dogs bound for fosters and adopters and making friends of fellow volunteer dog transporters and coordinators along the many miles she traveled.

Barbara was preceded in death by her husband, Bernard; sons, Paul and Steven; and brothers, Paul and John. A friend to all, she leaves behind a family she adored and many longtime friends. She is survived by her children and their spouses, Mike and Ann Handelman, Susan and Kevin Cozad, Ellen and Scott Stevenson, and Amy and Brad Bennett; grandchildren, Sarah, Lacey, Paul, Tom, Lily and Kaiya; great-grandchildren, Madeline, Holly, Rowan, Leo and Loewy; sister, Claire Slicker; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

There will be a private celebration of life and burial with immediate family members.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions go to The Friends of Parkville Animal Shelter (1356 NW Hwy 9, Parkville, MO 64152) or Catholic Community Health Hospice (16201 W. 95th St., Ste. 220, Lenexa, KS 66219).


The Friends of Parkville Animal Shelter
1356 NW Hwy 9, Parkville MO 64152

Catholic Community Hospice
16201 W. 95th St. Suite 220, Lenexa KS 66219
Tel: 1-913-621-5090

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