December 15, 2021
Ray Handley and Chester Godwin, good friends and the public face of Handley Lumber in the Second Generation. Ray’s Grandson Chris and Chester’s nephew Erick Watson, who has worked at Handley’s for 55 years.
Photos: Ray Handley and Chester Godwin, good friends and the public face of Handley Lumber in the Second Generation. Ray’s Grandson Chris and Chester’s nephew Erick Watson, who has worked at Handley’s for 55 years.
For anyone who has lived in Fenelon Falls for a while, the local lumberyard needs no introduction. For the generation that visited with their neighbours rather than watching television for entertainment, it seemed like most of the stories were about Ray Handley. Many of them were a little exaggerated, most a little inappropriate, all of them were highly entertaining. He was the most memorable local personality of his generation.
The business originated in Burnt River and founder Joe Handley Sr. built the Red Planing mill that still stands at Fenelon Falls. Much of the old machinery is still on site. His son Ray took over the business, and in turn passed it his sons Ken, Joe Jr., Bill and David. Ken’s son Chris purchased the business in 2008, becoming the fourth generation of Handley Lumber.
Erick Watson’s parents Ralph and Gladys (Godwin) started working for Joe in the 1930s, before they were married. When he was in high school, Ray offered Erick a job and he has now worked for three generations of Handleys. (Erick does not usually have long hair, he is growing it to donate to cancer survivors).
Today Handley’s remains a focal point for many village activities and a place where pretty much everyone knows each other. The family continues to take an active interest in improving the lives of their neighbours. It is a special business where the past and present of Fenelon Falls come together.