Wilbur E. Varnau, 86, Wickenburg, Ariz., passed away Saturday, March 16, 2013, at his home. Born Aug. 22, 1926, to John P. and Bertha (Hardebeck) Varnau in Kokomo, Wilbur graduated from Howard Township School (Kokomo) in 1944.
He volunteered for the Navy so his family’s married hired hand would not be drafted. He served in Oklahoma and Florida and was honorably discharged at the end of the war in 1946. He returned to Kokomo and farmed his family’s land for the rest of his working life. He also worked at Delco for 36 years, retiring as a manufacturing supervisor.
He was first married to Mary F. (Rayles) Varnau, and they raised eight children. He later married Carol A. (Lee) Varnau and raised her four daughters and their grandson, Joshua, as well.
Will was a tinkerer who could build or fix anything, barns, mowers and other farm equipment among them. As a retirement project, he built a house in the Arizona wilderness where he also loved the freedom of riding ATVs, horses and even water skis.
Will’s many friends knew him as adventuresome, friendly and light-hearted. He had a great sense of humor and an eagerness to help. He played cards avidly and sometimes played euchre or blackjack all night. He was an active member of the Delco Camping and Travel Clubs. Yugoslavia and Germany were favorite destinations, and he attended many national camping conventions. He was a member of the Kokomo Knights of Columbus.
Wilbur is survived by his wife, Carol A. Varnau, Wickenburg, Ariz.; his children, Michael (Susan) Varnau, Kokomo, Patricia Bagwell, Greentown, James (Janet) Varnau, Kokomo, Cathy Kurtz, Asheville, N.C., Jeanne (Robert) Reames, Kokomo, Steve (Michelle) Varnau, Santa Clara, Calif., Scot (Jennifer) Varnau, Houston, Texas, Lynette (Daryl) Kircher, Greens Fork, Laura Applegate, Milford, Ohio, and Lisa (David) Martin, Beavercreek, Ohio; grandchildren, Joshua (Kayleigh) Cardwell, Julie (David) Kartal, Lauren Varnau, Alexander Varnau, Andrew Varnau, Christopher (Roxanne) Bagwell, Erin Bagwell, Jason (Samantha) Guest, Joseph Varnau, Janelle (Scott) Lubensky, Shera (Aaron) Stewart, Ellie Varnau, Mary Kate Varnau, Betsy Varnau, Annalisa Varnau, Miranda Makdisi, Mason Kurtz, Trey Kurtz, Chase Lenon, Connor Lenon, Lori (Jeremy) Ellis, Levi (Jamie) Reames, Faith Reames, Jacob Varnau, Rachel Varnau, Daniel Varnau, Gavin Varnau, Aiden Varnau, Audreyalice Kubesch (Paul), Elizabeth Martin, Patrick Martin, Jacob Martin, Katherine Martin, Kyle Applegate, Austin Lawrence, Eric Lawrence, Kristy (Brian) Wilks, Jamie (Jason) Terrell, Lindsey Kircher, and Chad (Hannah) Kircher; 18 great-grandchildren; and siblings, Joan (Leo) Hellmann, Avon, Marjorie (Charles, deceased) Reagan, Fishers, Thomas (Berry, deceased) Varnau, Gary, and Mark (Ann) Varnau, Carmel.
Wilbur was preceded in death by his parents; his children, Libby Lawrence and Victor (Janny) Varnau; his grandchildren, Jennifer Bagwell and Jeremy (Ashley) Bagwell, and siblings Regina Varnau and Richard (Jo) Varnau.
Visitation will begin at 4 p.m. Monday at Shirley & Stout Funeral Home at 1315 W. Lincoln Road. There will be a memorial service at 7 p.m. that evening.
Online condolences may be left at www.shirleyandstout.com. Memorial gifts may be made to the American Heart Association or the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, in memory of Wilbur’s son, Victor.
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