Tommy Lynn Varner of Abilene, Texas, moved upstairs with our Lord above on September 11 at the age of 67 after a long, well fought battle with cancer. Born to Harry Tom and Illa Mae Varner of Baird, Texas on November 18, 1951, Tommy grew up in Baird and graduated Baird High School in 1970. He then attended McMurry University where he excelled as a track athlete and graduated in 1974 with an education degree. While completing two advanced degrees, Master of Ed from Sul Ross State and Administrative Certificate from Tarleton State, Tommy went on to pursue his passion and serve as an educator, coach and mentored to countless youth. Tommy married his high school sweetheart, Debora Stovall, and they began a life of servanthood.
Tommy was a Bear, a Pied Piper, a Panther, a Plowboy, a Coyote, a Rebel, a Bulldog & a Buckaroo. All of these mascots represent the span of influence and compassion he was able to cultivate with so many students and colleagues. If you knew Tommy, you knew what it was to be loved and accepted. The compassion and concern for each student was always present no matter the situation.
When absent from the school or field, Tommy and Debbie were adventurers and consumed by wanderlust. If there was something to be seen or experience, they just did it. Their travels include 35 states and over a dozen countries. Throughout their world travels and daily interactions, Tommy never met a stranger. His ability to communicate across cultures and languages was unparalleled, as love is an international language.
On any given day, you could always find Tommy talking sports or riding his bike with lifelong buddies. He was so blessed by his friends from youth and college who stood by his side until the end. We were all blessed with our time with him, especially his grandkids as the aim of his love and playful banter. Tommy thrived on celebrations and taking kids and grandchildren on trips to beaches, mountains and parks.
Those who will cherish his memory include his wife of 42 years, Debora Varner of Abilene, Texas; daughter and son-in-law, Trisha & Michael Piazza; of “wherever the Air Force takes them”; son and daughter-in-law, Matthew & Lori Varner of Midland, Texas; grandchildren, Sofia, James, Emilia, Luc and Liam Piazza, Lexi and Molly Varner; sister, Vicki Varner Anderson and brother-in-law, Tom of Lamesa, Texas; uncle and confidant, Carl White and wife Helen of Joshua, Texas; numerous cousins and extended family.
Tommy’s earthly deeds in service in the athletic arena and daily life will not be forgotten. You taught us how to truly live!
Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00 PM Saturday, September 28, 2019, at Beltway Park Church Worship Center, 4009 Beltway South.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Camp Able of Buffalo Gap.
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Beltway Park Church Worship Center
4009 Beltway South
Abilene, Texas 79606