Irene Varner

Irene Nelson Varner, age 94, of Boyer, went home to be with the Lord Wednesday morning the 5th day of August, 2015, at Pocahontas Center in Marlinton.

Born January 16, 1921, in Arbovale, she was a daughter of the late Pearl Nelson Rowe. She was adopted and raised by her uncle and aunt, the late Charles L. and Hettie Arbogast Nelson.

Irene retired as a cook from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank after 21 years of service. From there, she was a cook for 15 years at the National Youth Science Camp in Thornwood. She retired from the science camp at the age of 78.

She was an avid reader and loved to cook. She truly had a green thumb. She loved flowers – indoors and out. She loved to sit on her front porch, enjoying the beautiful views and the wildlife surrounding her.

Above all, she loved to spend time with her family and friends. She was a mother and true friend to all who knew her.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Leslie “Less” Varner in 1994; two daughters-in-law, Donna Lockhoff Varner in 1980, and Gracie Shiflett Varner in 2014; and a son-in-law, John E. Thompson in 2007.

She is survived by five children, Franklin L. Varner, of Durbin, Lois D. Thompson, of Bartow, James L. Varner, and wife, Karen, of Boyer, Jacky M. Varner, and wife, Janet, of Millville, New Jersey, and Debbie Jo Wright, and husband, Clarence, of Durbin; nine grandchildren, Frankie Lee Varner, Peggy Mick, Connie Varner, Kevin Thompson, Jacky Varner, Jr., Kendra Ann Bostard, Monica S. Green, Darrell A. Wright and Adam C. Wright; two step-grandchildren, David M. Varner and Jodi Campbell; nine great-grandchildren; seven step-great-grandchildren; and six great-great-grandchildren.

Funeral service was August 8 at Wallace and Wallace Funeral Home with Rev. David Rittenhouse officiating. Interment was in the Arbovale Cemetery.

Online condolences may be made at

more recommended stories