Mary Virginia “Ginny” Dean Varian, age 95, passed on to her heavenly home on Friday, July 6, 2018. She was born June 12, 1923 to the late Lester and Helen Wilson Dean in Glendale, Ohio. At the age of one, her parents moved to Grand River Orchards near Geneva, Ohio, where she spent the remainder of her childhood. After graduating from Geneva High School in 1941, she attended the School of Journalism at The Ohio State University, where she received a number of awards, graduating in 1944. At OSU she met Kenneth Varian of East Canton, whom she married in 1944. The couple immediately settled at Varian Orchards, Kenneth’s boyhood home, where she lived the remainder of her life.
Throughout her adult life as a resident of Stark County, Osnaburg Township and calling the Village of East Canton her adopted “hometown,” Mrs. Varian was an exemplary citizen as she put her many talents to work through extensive community service and leadership positions. She was a founding member and served as president of the East Canton Civic Club, the Friendly Hills Woman’s Club, and the Osnaburg Historical Society. In addition, Virginia was a founder of the East Canton Branch Library and served as president of Friends of the Library committee. She also was active in and served as president of the East Canton Schools PTA. For thirty years she served as either chairperson or worker for the neighborhood campaigns of United Way and other charities. Among Mrs. Varian’s fondest endeavors was as founder and advisor of two 4-H Clubs in Osnaburg Township. Mrs. Varian was active in agricultural organizations as well. She served on the steering committee and the advisory board of the Ohio Agriculture Marketing Association. She also served in many positions for the Stark County Farm Bureau, including the Board of Trustees, and she was president of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Ohio State Horticulture Society. Also, Mrs. Varian was a part time reporter-columnist for both the Louisville Herald and the former East Canton News.
As a dedicated Christian and faithful member of Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church, Virginia devoted countless hours of service and leadership as Sunday school teacher, choir member, member, chair of various church committees, and president of the United Methodist Women. She was also a founder of the Mt. Tabor Church preschool program in 1954.
Commendations and rewards received include the East Canton Rotary’s Citizen of the Year award for 2006, Mother of the Year of Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church for 1992, and Stark County Homemaker of the Year for 1963. She is listed in the Blue Book of Distinguished Women of Ohio by the Ohio Federation of Women’s Clubs. In 1998, Mrs. Varian and her husband Kenneth received the Stark County Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service Award for their contribution to agriculture in Stark County.
Aside from her family and her Christian faith, Mrs. Varian’s day to day source of joy and purpose was her fifty-year partnership with her husband, Kenneth, in the ownership and operation of Varian Orchards and Varian’s Apple Barrel.
Mrs. Varian was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Kenneth in 2001. Also preceding her in death are one sister, Winifred Elam; two brothers, James and David Dean; and one daughter-in-law, Martha (Rose) Varian. She is survived by her sons, Dr. Grant (Cheryl) Varian, of Bellefontaine, OH, Dr. Dean (Ruth) Varian and Reed (Dr. Nancy) Varian of East Canton; daughters, Beth (Dr. John) Schluep of Silver Lake, OH, and Hope (Dr. Don) Bittner of Franklin, PA.; grandchildren, Sean (Julie) Varian of Etna, OH; Krista (Charles) Allenstein of Elm Grove, WI; Dr. Kenneth (Melinda) Varian of Macedonia, OH; Mark (Shannon) Varian of Louisville, OH; Cliff (Megan) Varian of East Canton; Scott (Samantha) Varian of Canton; Aaron Schluep and Kelly Mosbacher of Charleston, S.C.; Beau (Annie) Schluep of Cuyahoga Falls, OH; Sarah Schluep of New York City; Liesl (Blake) Renaud of Chicago, IL; Tyler (Dr. Jessica) Bittner of Cortland, OH; and Colin Bittner, of Columbus, OH; seventeen great-grandchildren, and seven step-great-grandchildren; two younger sisters, Barbara Warner, of Ithaca, NY, and Janice (Gary) Crittenden of Elgin, IL; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Vic and Joanne Varian of East Canton, sister-in-law, June Snyder of Elyria, OH, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Friends may call Tuesday, July 10, 2018 from 5 – 8 pm in the Sanders Funeral Home in East Canton. Interment in Forest Hill Cemetery. A memorial service will be Saturday, July 21, 2018 at 11:00 am with visiting hours one-hour prior from 10 – 11 am in Mt Tabor United Methodist Church, 108 E. Walnut St., East Canton, OH 44730, with Pastor Jon Hutchinson and Rev John Schluep officiating.
Memorial donations may be made to Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church at 108 E. Walnut St., East Canton, OH 44730 or the Osnaburg Historical Society at 131 E. Nassau St., East Canton, OH 44730. Condolences or fond memories may be shared online at www.sandersfuneralhomes.com.
Mt Tabor United Methodist Church
108 E. Walnut St, East Canton OH 44730
Osnaburg Historical Society
131 East Nassau St., East Canton OH 44730