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John H. Varner

John Hopkins Varner, age 94, of Farmville, passed away peacefully on Saturday, October 3, 2015.  Born June 2, 1921, to Willis Anderson and Nannie Allen Varner of Cumberland County, he learned early the importance of family and hard work, values that he practiced and held dear his entire life.

A 1942 graduate of Virginia Tech’s Corps of Cadets, he served in World War II as an officer in the Quartermaster Corps of the U. S. Army, first in Persia and then the European Theatre.  When the war ended, he returned to Farmville and after briefly teaching at Cumberland County High School, worked at First National Bank of Farmville for 38 years, eventually retiring as bank president. During that time he volunteered his talents and thousands of hours to the community he loved.  Still today many civic groups enjoy the fruits of his leadership and business acumen, including the Five County Fair, the Farmville Moose Lodge, the Waterworks Players, the Farmville Lions Club, and the Farmville United Methodist Church.

His proudest business accomplishment was the 1969 co-founding of Southside Community Nursing Home (later renamed The Woodland).  For over 40 years he served as a hands-on President and Chairman of the Board watching the institution grow into one of the area’s largest employers and premier retirement communities.

Yet his crowning achievement lay closer to home. Batting well above his average, he wooed and captured the heart of a beautiful farmer’s daughter named Anne.  With her by his side for 54 years, he found the strength and confidence to live life more joyfully.  They danced. They traveled.  They celebrated with family.  And they raised three children whom he loved and protected like no father before him.

He is survived by his three children, Janet Conboy and husband, Rick of Matthews, NC; John Varner Jr. of Falls Church; and Patricia Varner and husband, Rusty Breeden of Glen Allen; and many loving nieces, nephews, and their families.  He was preceded in death by his wife Anne Tapscott Varner, his brothers, Herbert Leroy, Herman Anderson, Harold Earl, Willis Nicholson, Lawrence Cary, Allen Ford, Robert Claude, and sisters, Catherine Gordon and Aurelia Hazlegrove.

The family wishes to thank Dr. Lawrence Varner and staff, and the fabulous nurses, aides, sitters, and dining, activities, and administrative staff of The Woodland for serving an endless buffet of TLC (with strawberry ice cream on top).

The family will receive friends from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, October 7, at Puckett Funeral Home in Farmville. 

Funeral services will be conducted at 12:30 p.m., Thursday, October 8, at the Farmville United Methodist Church followed by a reception at 2 p.m. in the Jefferson Dining Room of The Moore Center (The Woodland).  A graveside service will take place at 4:30 p.m. at Antioch United Methodist Church of Cumberland.

Contributions may be made to the Farmville United Methodist Church (PO Box 64), the Prince Edward Rescue Squad (PO Box 87), or the Antioch United Methodist Church (61 Angola Lane).  (All in Farmville, VA  23901)

Puckett Funeral Home, Farmville, is in charge of arrangements.