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William Devon Varnell

June 14, 1928 February 26, 2020
William Devon Varnell
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Obituary for William Devon Varnell

William Devon Varnell passed away Wednesday, February 26, 2020. He was the last of his generation of the William Blanchard and Oneida Varnell family, a family of 8 children born and raised in Rogersville. Bill was 91 years old, a beloved father, grandfather, uncle, and friend.
Bill was skillful and hard working. He built the sturdy house he raised his family in, worked at Redstone Arsenal and Reynolds Aluminum as a pipefitter. He was also a woodworker who turned beautiful wood bowls and made handsome birdhouses. He was a beekeeper, a whiz on the computer, using websites and photoshop to document much of the family geneology. He was a flintknapper who made museum worthy arrowheads.
He was a self-taught naturalist, able to identify whatever was growing. He planted the ginko trees that now tower in his front yard and cultivated many other trees and plants on his property, including oak trees propagated from acorns he gathered at Monticello. He raised bees, made wine, cultivated tomatoes in a bamboo arch allowing him to drive his lawn mower underneath and pick the fruit hanging overhead. He was very proud of growing blackberries as big as your thumb. Just a year ago he produced “Bill’s bluebird boxes” for all his grandchildren and spent hours watching the bluebirds fledge their young. Bill was a storyteller. He could tell you about the prized white sorghum molasses that granddaddy Varnell produced and local people enjoyed.
Mr. Varnell is preceded in death by his parents, Blanchard and Oneida Varnell; siblings, Mary Varnell Favors, Bessie Jane Varnell Dollar, James Royce Varnell, Jessie Stewart Varnell, Polly Varnell, Peggy Varnell Williams, Frances Varnell Williams.
He was loved and will be greatly missed by his wife of 65 years, Patsy Mae Herston Varnell, their son Will Varnell and his wife Ruth, their son Mark and his wife Lanett, their daughter Rosemary Varnell Snukis and her husband Tom, their 6 grandchildren and their spouses, and their great granddaughter Jenna. Visitation for William will be held at Rogersville Funeral home on Saturday, February 29th from 12-2 p.m. Fuenral service will follow in the chapel. Gary Williams and Tim Williams will be officiating. Burial will be in Hurricane Cemetery.
Visit rogersvillefh.com to share memories and condolences with Mr. Varnell’s family.

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