Obituary: Florence Mary “Gretchen” (Hodgkins) Handren

Florence Mary “Gretchen” (Hodgkins) Handren

MERCERSBURG, Pa. – Florence Mary “Gretchen” (Hodgkins) Handren, 83, of Mercersburg, Pa., died Feb. 15, 2022, at Chambersburg Hospital after a brief illness. She was born on February 20, 1938, in Millinocket, Maine to Ernest and Edna (Darling) Hodgkins.Gretchen grew up in the small town of Richmond, Maine, and met her future husband Neil Handren as a teenager, when he was spending the summer with his best friend Gary Getchell’s family across the river at Gary’s grandfather’s house. They fell in love and as soon as Gretchen graduated from high school in 1955, she traveled to Colorado to marry Neil, who had joined the US Air Force a year earlier. Thus began their twenty-year nomadic life in the army, during which they raised three children. Their favorite posting was at Loring Air Force Base in northern Maine, so they decided to relocate just south of there to Près Isle when Neil retired from service. Neil began his second career in computer programming at a bank, while Gretchen worked as an administrative assistant at a state agency and later in the local school district. From 1986 to 2011 they lived in Portland and enjoyed volunteer work in their spare time, including as ushers for the Portland Symphony Orchestra and the Portland Concert Association. They loved the cruises they took, welcomed their grandchildren in the summer and spent time together. They moved to Mercersburg in 2011. Gretchen is survived by one sister, Norma McPherson (92) of Augusta; son Randy (Maureen) Handren of Perham, son Larry (Allison) Handren of Portsmouth, RI, and daughter Julie (David) Bell of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. She is also survived by eight grandchildren, Nicole (Kert) Clark of Ellsworth, Scott (Tina) Handren of Warwick, RI, Jeff (Iris Bohensky) Handren of Jamestown, RI, Holly Handren of Caribou, Sarah (Josh) Plants of Warwick, RI, Jennifer Bell of Mercersburg, PA, Emily Bell of Mercersburg, PA, and Jonathan Handren of Portsmouth, RI; and six great-grandchildren. Gretchen was predeceased by her beloved husband of nearly 65 years, Neil Alan Handren, who died May 9, 2020; his parents; one brother and two sisters. The funeral will be private and at the convenience of the family. Kelso-Cornelius Funeral Home, Ltd., of Chambersburg has been assigned to assist the family. Online condolences can be expressed at The omission of flowers is requested. Donations can be made to the Humane Society or Hospice

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