Mulba Leroy Handsel died December 30, 2023. Known as a consummate salesman to some and a great friend to all he called on, he was a man of integrity, a marketing visionary, sincere, and a devoted husband and family man.
He was born in Lumberton, NC 8-15-1929, eldest son of Mulba "Bud" Handsel b 11-10-1888 d 1-31943 and Effie Coulbourn Handsel b 12-24-1893 d 12-4-1968. Bud started in the shoe department of Efirds Department Store and worked his way up to store manager. Effie worked for Bloomingdale’s in
Maryland, as a Millner, and traveled through the south promoting merchandise. They met at an Efirds in Gastonia and were soon married. The family moved to Lumberton, then Monroe, NC where Bud was promoted to store manager for Efirds. LeRoy’s younger brother Ira Sidney Handsel b 10-18-1930 died 12-28-2014.
LeRoy was an Eagle Scout with Order of the Arrow recognition. He had a traditional life in a small town and would enjoy telling tales of his adventures and escapades as a youth with his best friend, G. Hal Coble. After his father’s death, LeRoy went to work for the local butcher shop at the age of 14, to help make ends meet. One of his duties was to wash the sausages once a week in a bleach and water bath to clean the slime off the casings! Times were different back then. He graduated from Monroe High School where he was Class President, played the trumpet, trombone, and French horn for 3 years in the school band and was a tackle on the football team. His class was the first in NC that was required to finish the 12th grade to graduate! During his junior year summer break, he joined the US Navy Reserve, trained in
Obituary for Mulba LeRoy “Roy” Handsel
Charleston, SC and helped move ships down the coast. His first car was a hand cranked Model T he bought off a farmer for $25!
He enrolled in Wingate Collage and soon received a job offer with the FBI, from an interview in high school, and started in the Records Department in Washington, DC, on Jan 1, 1948; attended night school at Southeastern Univ. and transferred to the Navy Air Reserve. By 1950, the war was raging and active duty for LeRoy was imminent, so he transferred back to the Monroe National Guard 540th field Artillery Battalion which was activated and sent to Ft. Bragg, NC that September. Assigned to the kitchen, he attended several schools and returned as a Sargent, cooking for hundreds of men daily. He often told the story of being assigned to take over a mess hall that had been closed as being unsanitary. He had his mess crew boil lemons and Lava Soap in huge pots and scrub the facility with it until it sparkled. He subsequently was recommended for OCS and transferred to Leadership School.
He married Sarah Kelly Coble, from Monroe, (Hal’s sister) in 1951 and they had 2 boys, Lee, and Tim. He later married Eleanor Standiford from Greensboro in 1962 and they had 1 girl, Sheila. Finally, he met Marilyn Burns Whiteside and her children, Chuck, and Terry, in 1972 and they married in 1977.
After the Army, he began a sales career in automotive products, beginning with Quaker State Oil and later finding a home with Raybestos/Manhattan Brakes in 1967, eventually rising to be their National Sales Manager. When the company was sold to a large conglomerate, only he and one engineer were kept on through the transition. He led the Indy 500 and the NASCAR sponsorship programs for Raybestos where he served as Division President for several years before retiring in 1995, at which time he received special recognition from Raybestos and the Stavola Brothers Racing Team.
LeRoy continued his involvement with racing for another five years by contracting hospitality events for Raybestos across the nation at all the major racing venues.
LeRoy played church league softball and would volunteer to cook at gatherings, as a meal for 300 was an easy chore for him! He loved southern cooking, especially what he called “South Carolina Ice Cream” (grits), eggs, broiled bacon, and biscuits with sausage gravy!
One of his favorite sayings to the kids was a reminder that “the view never changes back in the pack… it only changes for the lead dog!”
He and his wife Marilyn Whiteside Handsel retired to Mt. Pleasant, SC until her passing on March 4th, 2018, after 41 years of marriage. LeRoy’s stepdaughter, Terry Whiteside Graves, also passed away on August 8, 2018
Storytelling duties to his eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren will now fall to his surviving daughter and sons: Sheila Ann Handsel Graves and husband Lamar Graves of Summerville, SC; sons Timothy Hal Handsel and wife Cathey Handsel, of Myrtle Beach, SC; Charles Arthur “Chuck” Whiteside of Smyrna, GA; and Mulba LeRoy “Lee” Handsel, Jr. and wife JP Handsel of Vass, NC.
Should you choose to honor LeRoy, donate to your favorite charity, plant a tree, or enjoy a plate of eastern NC BBQ and think fondly of him.
LeRoy requested that no funeral service be held and his ashes to be spread over his parents’ graves in Stanley, NC.
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Mulba Handsel, please visit our Tree Store
A Memorial Tree was planted for Mulba
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Simplicity LowCountry Cremation & Burial Services Inc | Summerville