Cover photo for Royal W. Varner Jr.'s Obituary
Royal W. Varner Jr. Profile Photo
1934 Royal 2023

Royal W. Varner Jr.

April 11, 1934 — December 2, 2023

Chattanooga TN

Royal Washington Varner Junior, a father, grandfather, mentor and friend to so many over his 89 years here on earth, passed away 12/2/2023.  He leaves behind him a beautiful legacy of service to not only family and friends but to the community at large.

Roy was born to Royal Washington Varner and Mary Vera Barrett on 4/11/1934.  He was a proud son of South Carolina and the Lebanon community in which he was raised.  After graduating Berkeley High School and The Citadel, Roy was stationed in El Paso with the US Army.  He soon began his 35-year career with Dupont that saw him at the Savannah River Plant, Delaware, and finally to Chattanooga where he met and married his beautiful northern belle, Martha Goebel.  They had three sons (Robert, Christopher, and John (who passed too soon)).  He added two wonderful daughters (Keri and Christie) when his sons married.  He became “Poppy” when he was soon blessed with 4 incredible granddaughters (Hannah, Flynn, Kate, and Riley).  These were his immediate family, but he treated all those who came into his life as extensions of this family.  From his sons’ friends over the years, collegiate wrestlers from across the country, a few Olympic wrestlers along the way, to neighbors, friends, and extended family, he was a father and mentor to all.  Roy was a leader from his youth through high school and college into his 35 years at Dupont and his support of amateur wrestling.

Roy and Marty were integral in organizing and assisting with the TSSAA tournament when it was held in Chattanooga. They also supported the wrestling community from the high school, college, national, and international levels for over 40 years.  They were Mom and Dad to any wrestler needing support and organized and assisted with numerous wrestling tournaments (including TSSAA state tournaments, the Southern Conference championship, two World Cup events (1993, 1995) and USA Wrestling training camps prior to the 1995 World Championship and the 1996 Olympics).  Roy felt privileged to have had the opportunity to work with the 1995 freestyle wrestling World Championship team and became fast friends with all of the members but especially with Dave Schultz. Roy and Marty’s unwavering support of amateur wrestling was recognized when they were inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on 3/2/2012.  These accomplishments are even more remarkable seeing as both sons were avid soccer players and never wrestled.

He is now with his Heavenly Father and is enjoying the company of his wife Marty, their son John, his brother Frank, his niece Susan, his brother-in-law Pete, his good friend J.W. Ayers (and godfather to his first son), his Mom, Dad, and those family and friends that have gone before him.  He faced death twice before, once as a youth from a hunting accident and then as a young adult in a head on collision.  His strength, will, and family saw him through these events.  He was fortunate to be here long enough to see his sons, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews marry and have daughters and sons of their own that he loved and adored more than will be expressed in mere words.  Roy never met a stranger and his generosity to his family, friends, and those he encountered along his journey knew no bounds.

Roy is survived by his son Rob and his wife Keri, granddaughters Flynn and Kate, his son Chris and his wife Christie, granddaughters Hannah and Riley, his sister-in-law Estelle and their children Michael, Jeffery, and Sharon and their families, his sister Janette her husband Ernest and their son Mathew and his family. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Luanne and their children Amanda, Adam, and Adrienne and their families.  He was blessed to be father to so many extraordinary people over the years but he always held a special place for Jessica and Cody, Paul and Carol Schoner, Michael Mirabella and his family, and Chip Hassler and his family.  I would name all those who were special to Roy, but the list would be never-ending like the love of his family for him has been over these many years.  Family and friends should take comfort in the stories they all share and the fact his love for all of us will not be stopped by the minor inconvenience of death.  Royal, Roy, R.W. leaves a void in this world that will never be filled.

South Carolina Visitation and Service:  11 am 12/06/2023 Russell Funeral Chapel, 107 W. Main St. Moncks Corner, SC 29461 with a gravesite service at Rudd Branch Cemetery at 1 pm.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to Rudd Branch Cemetery care of Peggy Welch Baker Treasurer, 3304 Pinewood Dr. Ladson, SC 29456

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Royal W. Varner Jr., please visit our flower store.


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