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Joyce Varner

Joyce Varner, age 80, of Durbin, died peacefully Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in her home surrounded by her family.

Born October 7, 1938, she was a daughter of the late Leo Walter and Marie Simmons Young.

Joyce was a pillar of her community, both through her love and notoriety for cooking and her unwavering support of the fire department. Joyce spent her life cooking in the Durbin Grade School, Green Bank School and Pocahontas County High School.

Many kitchens in the community had Joyce’s famous salt rising bread on their tables for family meals. She was Durbin Fire and Rescue’s dispatcher for many decades until 911 was brought to Durbin. She was also on the Senior Citizens Board, supporting her peers within her community and continued sharing her love of food and cooking by running the Durbin Food Pantry for more than two decades.

Joyce was on the Board, and instrumental in bringing a fully functioning library to Durbin. She was an active member of the United Methodist Church of Durbin. The community and her family were richly blessed by the love and tireless commitment Joyce Varner provided over her lifetime.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a daughter, Rose Lacey.

She is survived by her daughters, Jean Mullenax of Broadway, Virginia, and Pat Mallow, of Durbin; a son, Buster Varner, of Durbin; grandchildren, Chris Mullenax, Ashley Mullenax, Veronica Lane, JD Mallow, Jessica Varner, Vanessa Varner and Josh Lacey; seven great-grandchildren; siblings, Polly Pappas, Mary Frances Crockett, Bob Young and William Young; and a special friend and caregiver, Amanda Carr.

Funeral service was held May 25, at Durbin United Methodist Church, with Pastors Tom King Gary Phillips officiating. Interment was in the Arbovale Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations to one of the services near and dear to Joyce Varner’s heart would be richly blessed by your love and financial support – Durbin Volunteer Fire Department, Northern Pocahontas Food Pantry or the Durbin United Methodist Church.

Online condolences may be made at

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