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Mark Nesbit Varney

Award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and musician Mark Nesbit Varney died Aug. 26, 2013, in Homerville, Ga. He was 59 years old. He was born Oct. 1, 1953, in Abbeville, S.C. His family moved to Crystal River, Fla., in 1958 and he was a lifelong Citrus County resident. He attended Crystal River School (K-12) and graduated in 1971. He studied speech broadcasting at the University of South Florida in Tampa and, for decades, was a familiar voice on Citrus and Marion County radio stations. He worked in local television as well. As a journalist, he reported for newspapers in Citrus and Hernando counties. As a freelance writer, he wrote on music and literature for a number of regional, national and international publications. As a musician, he played drums and sang with touring blues bands The Accelerators and The James Peterson Band. Most recently, he was a member of Marion County-based Sugar Bear, and was active in the Ocala music community. His interests included collecting record albums and books, painting, drawing, writing songs, playing guitar, reading, writing poetry, classic films, swimming, snorkeling and bicycling.
He is survived by an older brother, Russell Varney (of Temple Terrace); an older sister, Elaine Varney-Panuska (of Eustis, and Inverness, Nova Scotia); a younger brother, Brad Varney (of Crystal River); nephews, Matthew Panuska (of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) and Adam Varney (of Temple Terrace); a niece, Cass Panuska-Borsting (of San Francisco, Calif.); and two grandnephews.
A member of the First Baptist Church of Crystal River, he was a practicing New Testament Christian/Zen Buddhist.

Published in Citrus County Chronicle on Sept. 8, 2013
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