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Founders of Batavia Electric Supply

Posted by Katelyn Holton on

Founders of Batavia Electric Supply:

Stephen & Shirley Handra

Stephen Handra was born in 1927 in Cincinnati, Ohio to George and Johanna Handra.  He grew up with three brothers, George, Frank, and John.  In 1945, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the Army.  During his tenure in the army he worked as an automotive mechanic.  He received the World War II Victory Ribbon and an Army Occupation Medal.  After his service ended in 1946, he began working as an electrician while working at an automotive shop with his brother Johnny. 

Shirley (Dewald) Handra, was born in 1929 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Peter and Mildred Dewald.  She grew up with two sisters, Gail and Joan, and one brother Walter.  She attended Our Lady of Mercy for most of her schooling where she was a classmate with Rosemary Clooney.  Shortly after school Shirley was set up on a blind date at a bowling alley by her cousin Rita.  Little did she know, she would meet the love of her life, Stephen.  On May 7th 1949, Stephen and Shirley got married.

In 1951, their first of seven children was born.  In the same year Stephen made the decision to start working at General Electric where he stayed there for forty years.  Shirley spent her days taking care of their seven children and being the perfect housewife.  It was a dream of Stephen and Shirley to open a hardware store.  On Stephen’s 40th birthday, they decided to open Batavia Electric Supply.  They started selling light fixtures out of a building they owned on their farm.  Once their business started to grow they moved to Keane Coal and Lumber.  It then moved to the Main Street location but once it grew even bigger they made the move to our current location.


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