Clifford was born on August 5, 1926, on a farm four miles east of Menno, S.D. to William and Annetta (Heckenlaible) Handel. He was baptized and confirmed at Ebenezer Reformed Church. He attended school at Knodel School and Menno High School. He then began farming and raising purebred Hereford cattle. He married Helena Katherina Mettler on September 15, 1946. They farmed east of Menno until 1981, when they moved to Menno and acquired Handel Insurance Agency. He was one of the founding members of the Hutchinson County Soil Conservation District. He served as a supervisor from 1963-2004. He and Helen celebrated 61 years of marriage, until her death in May of 2008. He married Donna Johnson on September 19, 2009. He entered Menno Olivet Care Center in December 2015.
Cliff loved working on the farm, with his cattle, particularly harvest time. He served as Molan Township Supervisor; on the Consistory of Peace Reformed Church. He enjoyed traveling. He sold the insurance business following a debilitating stroke in 2001. Through his determination, he continued to enjoy and remain active at the farm.
Cliff is survived by his wife, Donna; his children: Katherine Handel (Lynn Pennington) of Paoli, OK, Bruce (Mary) Handel of Menno, SD, John (JoLynn) Handel of Dry Ridge, KY; grandchildren: Deaun Maas Steed, Stean (Raissa) Maas, Jeremy (Denise) Handel, Justin (Joanie) Handel, Hayden, Holten and Halena Handel; great-grandchildren: Tyler, Avery and Grant Handel, Austin and Hailey Handel, and Jaeyla Maas Steed. Cliff is also survived by his brother-in-law, Ray Mettler; sisters-in-law: Bernice Handel, Carol Mettler and Pat Mettler; as well as, nieces and nephews.
Cliff was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Helen; his brothers, Harvey and Duane.
Memorial contributions may be made to Peace Reformed Church Mission Fund, 306 North High, Menno, SD 57045.