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WKEB Obituaries Blog


  Eileen Joan Handel, 88, of Medford passed away on March 17, 2018 surrounded by loved ones. A funeral mass will take place on Friday, March 23 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Medford at 12 noon with Father Phil Juza officiating. Visitation will take place Friday from 10:30 AM until time of services at the church. Urnbearers will be Brittany Zenner and Julian and Margaret Handel.

  Eileen was born on August 10, 1929 to Leo J. and Theresa M. (Brost) Hirsch in Medford. She attended Holy Rosary School and graduated from Medford High School in 1947. Eileen was also a graduate of Taylor County Normal School. After her education, she taught elementary school in Abbotsford and at the Mathey School in rural Medford for three years.

  On June 15, 1953, Eileen married Gerald “Jerry” Handel at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. They enjoyed 51 years of life together. He preceded her in death on February 25, 2005.

  After marriage, Eileen worked as a homemaker and mother. She was also a substitute teacher at Holy Rosary Catholic School. Eileen actively enjoyed boating, golfing, curling, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, walking and biking. In her younger years, she drove stock car with Jerry. Her competitive spirit earned her the nickname “Mean Eileen.” Eileen took pride in her grandchildren and enjoyed spending time with them. In later years, Eileen was an active member of a caregiver support group and was instrumental in creating a support group for people with visual impairments.

  Eileen was a devoted Catholic and member of Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Medford. She was a past member of the Medford Curling Club, Homemaker’s Club and Birthday Club.

  Eileen was the proud mother of Kathleen “Kate” (Steve) Metz, Mike (Rhonda) Handel, both of Medford, and Gary (Jane) Handel of Austin, MN and a loving grandmother to Christian, Julian (Dana) and Margaret Handel, Jared Metz and Brittany (M.J.) Zenner. Her great-grandson, Mason Zenner, brought her great joy, and she was anxiously awaiting the arrival of another great-grandbaby in July.

  Eileen is survived by two brothers, Leo James Hirsch of Barrington Hills, IL and Patrick Hirsch of Lake Bluff, IL, one sister, Marguerite (Ray) Klingbeil of Medford, three sister-in-laws: Bernice Hirsch of Sparta, Joan Hirsch of Pensacola, FL and Arlene Handel of Medford and numerous nieces and nephews.

  Eileen was preceded in death by brothers, Peter, Mark and John “Jacky” Hirsch; sister, Marilyn Strassman; sister-in-laws, Geraldine, Edna and Lorraine Hirsch, Marian Hansen and brother-in-laws, Ray Strassman, Robert Hansen, and Roger Handel.

  In lieu of flowers memorial donations in Eileen’s name may be given to the family for use at a later designation. For online condolences, please visit

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