Lillian Marie Tarlton Handley Obituary

  • Lillian Marie Tarlton Handley
    In Loving Memory of

    Lillian Marie Tarlton Handley

    Birth Date: Aug 13th, 1921 Death Date: Feb 13th, 2016
    Lillian Tarlton Handley died quietly at her home in Brenham on Feb. 13, 2016.

    Lillian was born to Ira and Hattie Tarlton in Garber, Oklahoma on August 13, 1921, the third and youngest of their daughters. The family moved to Norman, Oklahoma to take advantage of the benefits of the University of Oklahoma. Lillian graduated as valedictorian from Norman High School in 1938, immediately enrolling in the university. Prior to her graduation in 1942 with a B.A. in mathematics, she was honored by memberships in Mortar Board and Phi Beta Kappa.

    During the years of World War II, she was married briefly, had a son, and taught mathematics at the University of Oklahoma and Southern Methodist University. At the war's end, she returned to Norman to teach. In 1947 she married Jay Sanford Handley who had been attending school as a veteran, completing his studies in Petroleum Engineering. Jay accepted her son, Bob, as his own, adopted him and changed his name to Handley.

    The family moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where Jay worked for Magnolia as a mud engineer on offshore wells. During their spare time, Jay and Lillian worked on building projects - an apartment on his parent's property and then on a small house for themselves. In 1949, while still working on their home, their daughter, Jackie, was born. In that same year Jay went to work for Texas Gas Transmission Corporation, a company for which he would work for 32 years. In 1954 their family was completed with the birth of Janet.

    After a transfer to Houston in 1957 and years of working in that area, he was sent on a temporary assignment in 1972 to London, England to set up an office and make preparations for drilling in the North Sea. By this time Bob and Jackie had graduated from college and married, and Janet was to enter Texas A&M. They left their home in the care of Jay's sister, took Janet to A&M and took off for London. The temporary assignment ended up being four years and they returned to Houston in 1976. Jay resumed his work in Houston, retiring in 1981.

    During retirement, Jay and Lillian discovered Brenham and rented a bungalow in the Gay Hill area. Later their dream home was built, and they lived there for ten years until Parkinson's Disease took its toll on Jay, and he was admitted to a nursing home. The dream house was sold, and Lillian moved into town to be nearer to Jay, who died in October of 2001. Lillian suffered a heart attack and triple bypass in 2002, but was able to continue to live at home. The last years of her life were quiet, with water therapy her principal activity.

    Survivors include son and daughter-in-law, Bob and Vicki Handley; daughter and son-in-law Jackie and Ray Hamilton of Brenham; daughter, Janet Handley of College Station; granddaughter Suzanne Guentert of Conroe, and grandson, Jay Benson of Brenham.

    A private family memorial service to honor Lillian's life will be held in the near future. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to the Blue Bell Aquatic Center in Brenham.

    The family would like to thank C. "Shortie" Stewart for her loving car of our mother for 22 years. They would also like to recognize the staff of Traditions Hospice for their wonderful, supportive care of Lillian.

    Funeral arrangements for Lillian Tarlton Handley are entrusted to Memorial Oaks Chapel, 1306 W. Main, Brenham. To post a tribute to the family, visit

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