2014-06-19 / Obituaries

Rose F. Varney

Rose Varney passed away on May 28, 2014 peacefully, with her daughters by her side, at Bethel Retirement Community in Modesto.

Rose was born to John and Mary Fraser in Oakland on April 4, 1926. After her graduation from Holy Names College in Oakland with a music degree, she moved to Mariposa in 1946 to live with her sister Rita. She became the music supervisor for the Mariposa County School District, and soon realized how deeply beautiful, rural Mariposa touched her heart—to the point that she wanted to spend the rest of her life in the county.

Rose met Norm Varney while square dancing at the dance hall in Midpines. After a courtship, the couple was married on June 28, 1952 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, officiated by Fr. Francis Walsh.

Rose and Norm had five children in six-and-a-half years. They are Kay Myers of Modesto, JoAnn Martin of Hayden Lake, Ida., the late Gordie Varney of Mariposa, Colleen Varney of Mariposa and Mary Lou Morehouse of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Together, Rose and Norm’s children gave the couple 13 beautiful grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Rose was preceded in death by her husband Norm and her son Gordie.

After her youngest daughter, Mary Lou, started school, Rose went back to teaching. She was an extremely dedicated and respected elementary school teacher for many years at Mariposa and Woodland elementary schools. After a first retirement, her teaching career continued as a substitute teacher for all grades. She found a new love teaching at the high school level—where she wasn’t known as Mrs. Varney, but as “Grandma,” and often had her own grandchildren in her classes.

She continued substitute teaching until she turned 80 years old—and taught twice that week, in fact.

Rose’s life joys were spending time with her family, houseboating, hosting large family gatherings and traveling—including visits to six continents. She also loved sewing, gardening, cooking, knitting, crocheting and baking. Many school staff members enjoyed the delicious baked goods she would leave in the lunch room.

Her love of nature’s gifts was unparalleled. She taught all her children to appreciate the simplest things in life.

Rose had a tremendous gift of inspiring others to meet their potential and have confidence in themselves. No matter where she lived or traveled, people were influenced by her optimistic attitude and warmth.

The family would like to express a heartfelt thank you for all the love and support it has received from the Mariposa community, from Bethel Retirement Community and the Hospice of Modesto.

The family is truly blessed to have had such a wonderful mother—and influence in its life. There are those individuals who walk the earth, and those who walk and leave an everlasting impression. The family believes Rose left an everlasting impression.

Rose’s wishes were to have a memorial Catholic Mass with her family instead of a celebration of life. In lieu of flowers, friends and family may make a memorial contribution to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, the Mariposa SPCA, the Hospice of Modesto, Mariposa Grizzly Boosters, Mariposa FFA Boosters or a charity of their choice.

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Anyone remember how she would

Anyone remember how she would bring a bag of hard candy to her classes and hand them out at the end of the day?! I have so many fond memories of Mrs. Varney, Grandma, and she will be remembered always.

Mrs. Varney was my third

Mrs. Varney was my third grade teacher 30+ years ago. I still have wonderful memories of her, not only as a teacher, but as a person. She will be truly missed!!

I knew her only as a very

I knew her only as a very young lady, my elementary school music teacher, but my memories of her as a wonderful person are undimmed. Her sister Rita was actually my first music teacher, and I was a bit skeptical when I heard that Rose was taking her place. Not to worry! It's great to see how much she meant to Mariposa, and how much she contributed over a long life.

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