Paul Robert Handlery, well-known as the owner and Chairman of Handlery Hotels, Inc., passed away January 26, 2013, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 92 years old.
Paul completed 2 years of undergraduate study at UC Berkeley and went on to earn a B.S. with Honors from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. During WWII Paul served as a commissioned officer in the Quartermasters Corps of the U.S. Army in charge of officers’ and enlisted men’s clubs at Fort Ord Army Base in Monterey. It was here that he met his wife Ardyce. They were both transferred to the Hawaiian Islands and married in Honolulu in June, 1945. Paul and Ardyce raised their 5 children in Orinda and later divided their time between Moraga and Palm Springs.
Paul’s father, Harry Handlery, began his hotel career in 1928 in Vallejo. In 1948 Harry bought the Hotel Stewart on San Francisco’s Union Square. Paul assumed control of the company and in 1964 build the Handlery Motor Inn, considered to be the first boutique hotel in San Francisco, with unique amenities including remote control televisions, in-room coffee, in-room safes, and outdoor balconies around the pool and courtyard. The two hotels were combined in 1988 to form the Handlery Union Square Hotel. The company also continues to operate the Handlery Hotel San Diego.
During his career in San Francisco, Paul was involved in a variety of charitable and civic organizations and was well-known for his ability to raise funds and support the hospitality community. These organizations include the Downtown Association of San Francisco, the Hotel Council of San Francisco, San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Union Square Association. He was especially proud of helping found the Northern California Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society almost 50 years ago. A champion of encouraging hospitality higher education, Paul served on the Advisory Boards of the Hotel and Restaurant Management Departments at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, City College of San Francisco, and the University of San Francisco. He was an Honorary Regent at John F. Kennedy University and a member of the Cornell University Council.
Paul held leadership positions with the American Hotel & Lodging Association (Past President), the American Hotel Foundation, the California Hotel & Lodging Association (Past President), the Hotel Employers Association of San Francisco, the Hotel & Restaurant Foundation of San Francisco, the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (Past President) and the Cornell Society of Hotelmen. He received numerous awards during his long career, including Innkeeping Magazine’s Man of Distinction, Hospitality Magazine’s Hall of Fame, Pacific Hotel-Motel News’ Man of the Year, National Jewish Hospital’s Man of the Year, City College of San Francisco’s Foundation Business Award, Golden Gate University Honorary Doctorate, CH&LA Hall of Fame, USF President’s Medallion, Hotel Council of San Francisco’s Peter Goldman Award of Excellence, Educational Institute of the AH&LA CHA Emeritus, Salvation Army Honorary Colonel and Community Service Awards, and the California Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Hall of Fame.
He was predeceased by his wife Ardyce and his youngest daughter Lane. Paul is survived by his children: Kim (David) Metcalf, Michael Handlery, Nancy Handlery, Jon (Margaret) Handlery; grandchildren Vanessa, Amanda, Sean, Reed, Ashley, Lindsey, Nicholas, Holly, Catherine, Robert, Laura, Jack and Michael; and great-grandchild Elanea.
Private services were held. A memorial celebration of life will be announced in March. Donations may be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 221 Main Street, Suite 1650, San Francisco 94105, or the Alzheimer’s Association.
Our sympathies to the Handlery Hotel family.