Respected Columbus surgeon David Varner, Jr. dies at 70; Funeral and visitation set
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A highly respected Columbus surgeon who was paralyzed in an accident 22 years ago but continued to contribute significantly to the community has died.
Dr. William David Varner, Jr., passed away Thursday, January 20, peacefully alongside his wife and five daughters.
He was 70 years old.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 2:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Midtown Columbus. The visits will take place before the service in Saint-Paul, from 1 p.m.
When a tragic accident in 2000 left him a quadriplegic and unable to perform surgery, Varner used his medical knowledge for St. Francis Hospital and AFLAC.
He has also given back through other philanthropic means. He was particularly interested in Eastseals and was chairman of a 6-year fundraising campaign.
Varner was born July 24, 1951, in Franklin, Virginia, the son of Dr. William David Varner, Sr., and Ruth Hungerford Varner.
He graduated from Hardaway High School, went to Davidson College for undergraduate school where he was a Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brother.
Varner received his MD from the Medical College of Georgia. David then completed his internship at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and his residency at the University of Texas and Hermann Hospital, Houston, TX.
After completing his surgical training in 1985, Varner returned home. He joined close friends Dr. Chuck Scarborough, MD, the late Dr. Luther Wolff, MD, and the late Dr. William Wolff, MD in practice at Columbus Surgical Associates.
“A highly respected general surgeon, David has invested himself wholeheartedly in his practice and his patients,” said a press release announcing his death. “His passion for helping people extended to his community where he served on various boards including the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, Springer Opera House, Columbus Symphony, LOCHAWABA, Leadership Georgia, Chattahoochee Valley Community Foundation, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, The Columbus Ballet, Synovus, St. Paul United Methodist Church and St. Francis Hospital. He is past president of the Muscogee County Medical Society and the Columbus Ballet Board of Trustees.
Varner is survived by his wife, Mary Robinson Varner, his daughters, Helen Manderson (Coate), Mary Lovett Beck (Jeff), Caroline Fields (Brandon), Sally Watkins (Tommy) and Anna Garcia (Nick) and his grandchildren : Sally, Wynne, Lovett, Gardner, Julianna, Bennett, Mims, Eliza Chance, Mary Helen, Eli, David and Will. Survivors also include siblings Ann Viamonte (Luis), Caroline Coburn (Charles), John Varner (Kathy) and Rob Varner (Sista), as well as a host of nieces and nephews.
The family also expressed their gratitude to her carer, Matthew Tyner, for the loving and compassionate care he gave her.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial donations may be made to Easterseals West Georgia, 2515 Double Churches Rd, Columbus, Ga., 31909 and St. Paul United Methodist Church, 2101 Wildwood Avenue, Columbus, Ga., 31906.