Alan R. "Al" Varner

Alan R. "Al" Varner

Alan R. (“Al”) Varner, 79, of San Mateo, FL, beloved father, grandfather, and brother, passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 2, 2021. Al is survived by daughter, Terri Arellano (Sergio); son, Mike Varner (Angela); first wife, Patricia (Coble) Fernández; stepdaughter, Wendi Willis; three stepsons; grandchildren Sergio Arellano, Jay Land, Angie Arellano, Gray Land, and Mikayla Varner; and five step-grandchildren. He is also survived by brothers Larry (Patty), Bruce (Connie), and Eric (Susan) Varner; niece, Jennifer Varner, and nephews Mark, John, and Ben Varner. Alan was preceded in death by his second wife, Frances J. Willis Varner; and his parents.

Alan Richard Varner was born on December 10, 1941 to Dwight Steve and Avis (Beede) Varner in Dixon, IL, the oldest of four sons. He attended Lincoln School in elementary years and graduated from Monticello High School and Eastern Illinois University. Al worked with the Illinois Central Railroad as a young man. In 1969, his career as a speech therapist brought him and former wife Pat to Green Cove Springs, FL, where he also served as a Clay County paramedic. He later married Frances (“Frankie”) Johnson Willis and they enjoyed many years together in Green Cove Springs and San Mateo, FL. In his retirement years, Al was a courier with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, transporting donations between Palatka and Gainesville, FL.

Al had a huge heart and a great sense of humor. He was a dedicated husband, father, and friend, a disciple of Christ, and a man of his word. Al was an avid boater and fisherman; he could often be found on his beloved St. Johns River. He enjoyed multiple water sports, camping, and traveling. Al was always ready for a new adventure! He shared his life with many cherished dogs through the years. Al had a passion for billiards and was a very talented player, earning recognition and several opportunities to play in Las Vegas. He also enjoyed teaching others to play.

Family and friends are invited to attend a celebration of Al’s life at 2 PM on Thursday, June 17th at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 400 St. Johns Avenue, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043, (904) 284-5434. The Reverend Amy Slater will officiate. There will be a reception in the parish hall following the service.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Community Hospice and Palliative Care (Give | Community Hospice & Palliative Care) or the Safe Animal Shelter (SAFE Animal Shelter | No-Kill Shelter for Dogs & Cats | Northeast Florida). Arrangements are under the care of Watts Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 720 S. US Hwy. 17, San Mateo, FL 32187, (386) 328-1414. Please sign the family’s online guestbook at

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