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Michael David Varner

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Michael David Varner Obituary
Michael David Varner


Michael D. Varner passed away on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 after a courageous battle with brain cancer. He was born in Highland Falls, NY on October 8, 1953. His life was devoted to learning and to serving with joy.

A 1971 graduate of Niceville H.S., Mike attended Okaloosa-Walton Community College and briefly USF, but went on to earn both his BS and MST degrees from the University of West Florida.

"Mr. Varner" was an exceptional teacher and received many accolades including Who's Who Among Teachers, Florida Biology Teacher of the Year and Escambia County Teacher of the Year 2011. A humble man, he would say he only wanted to help his students become the best they could be. He taught biology for 35 years at Tate High School and was an adjunct professor at Pensacola State College for 10 years. Additionally, during his career, he coached soccer, sponsored Student Government, both the sophomore and senior classes, and Exchange Club. He also taught classes at the Florida Institute of Ultrasound. His teaching extended to church activities as well: teaching Sunday School, assisting with Youth Ministry for nearly 20 years, and planning, organizing and participating in many diocesan youth events.

A talented musician, Mike played in the Pensacola Civic Band in his younger years, but then discovered his love of guitar and singing. This gift, too, he shared with many young people as he helped them discover their own talents. He wrote and recorded several songs and often played at church worship, school and parties. It had been his unrealized dream to entertain in night clubs when he retired.

Mike was active in the Boy Scouts of America for nearly 10 years and loved the outdoors. He was an avid camper, hiker, bicyclist, soccer player, golfer and gardener.

At heart, Mike would call himself a simple man. He loved to read and challenge his mind. But his greatest passion was his family, and nothing made him happier than spending time with his wife and sons. He could often be found doing yard work and home projects as he was a consummate home body.

He is preceded in death by his twin infant sons, Matthew Ryan and Shaun David Varner. He is survived by his devoted wife of 33 years, Kathleen (Wogan) Varner; his sons, Jason (Kelly) of Orlando and Brian (Jessica). He also leaves his parents, Richard and Madeleine Varner of DeFuniak Springs; sister, Valarie (Paul) Trynoski of Sansom, AL; brother, Richard (Ann) of Tavares, FL; brother-in-law, Michael Wogan of Alameda, CA; nephew, Adam (Rachael) Trynoski; niece, Alice (Sam) Taylor and thousands of colleagues, friends and former students who loved him.

His family wishes to express their gratitude to Dr. Palaez, Dr. Patel and the staff of the West Florida Cancer Center, the loving staff of West Florida Covenant Hospice, Covenant Hospice Milton, and home care aides Rutha and Jackie for their kindness. We also wish to thank the hundreds of people who faithfully supported us and provided for our needs during this long journey.

Visitation will be at Faith Chapel North Funeral Home on Monday, February 11 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The memorial service, officiated by the Rev. Michael Schulenburg, will be on Saturday, February 16, 1:00 p.m. at Holy Cross Episcopal Church, 7979 N. 9th Ave. in Pensacola. A private inurnment will take place at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mike's memory to the Michael Varner Scholarship Fund (Tate High School) for students who plan to continue study in the field of biology.

FAITH CHAPEL NORTH FUNERAL HOME, 1000 Hwy 29 Cantonment, is in charge of arrangements.

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Published in Pensacola News Journal from Feb. 10 to Feb. 11, 2013
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