May 21, 2024

Thomas “Tom” Kenneth Varnadore

Posted May 21, 2024 5:49 PM
Thomas “Tom” Kenneth Varnadore
Thomas “Tom” Kenneth Varnadore

Thomas “Tom” Kenneth Varnadore, 92, of Wamego, Kansas, died Friday, May 17, 2024, at the Wamego Good Samaritan Society, surrounded by family. 

Tom was born September 15, 1931, in Baxley, Georgia, the son of John S. and Bessie (Fields) Varnadore.  He graduated from Baxley High School in 1949.  His strong work ethic was demonstrated while in High School as he worked in the local grocery store and lumber mill.  In October 1952, he entered the Army and was sent to Fort Riley, Kansas.  He was commended during his two years of military service in the Korean War, receiving a good conduct medal before being honorably discharged from the military in October 1954. 

In Kansas, Tom met the love of his life, Joretta Marie Bennett, and they were united in marriage on April 30, 1955, in Wamego.  They were inseparable during their 66 years of marriage, a testament to their enduring loyalty and devotion.  Tom held Joretta's hand as she passed away on April 20, 2021, leaving behind a legacy of love.

After his discharge from the military, Tom worked a short time with Daylor Motors in Wamego.  In April 1956, he began his long career as a department manager for Sears & Roebuck in Manhattan, Kansas.  After more than 40 years of service, Tom retired from Sears and worked as a Transportation Supervisor and a regular bus route driver for USD 320 in Wamego.  Upon retiring from the school district, he worked as a part-time substitute bus driver and part-time Howell Lumber worker.

Tom was a member of the St. Bernard Catholic Church and served as a Eucharistic and Liturgical Minister.  He also served as an usher alongside Joretta.  He was a lifetime Third Degree Knight in the Wamego chapter of the Knights of Columbus.  Tom adored spending time with Joretta and together they would take trips to casinos for fun getaways.  In their later years, he was Joretta’s selfless caregiver and would cook and lovingly care for Joretta’s needs.  His dedication to family could be seen with the time he spent with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  He had a “green thumb” and enjoyed growing vegetables and tending to his fruit trees. 

Tom is survived by his sons, Richard Varnadore (Cindy), Wamego, and Brian Varnadore (Heather), Alma; his grandchildren, Rolland Varnadore, Wamego, Keegan Varnadore (Kara), Clearwater, and Averil Varnadore, Alma; his great-grandchildren, Landon and Breyleigh; his sister, Jeanette Tyler, Allenhurst, Georgia; his sister-in-law, Ann Bennett, Wamego; many nieces, nephews, and friends.  

Tom was preceded in death by his wife, parents; siblings, J.L. (Willie May), Carlton (Sara), and Edna Peoples (Ed); brothers-in-law Don Bennett and Wayne (Betty); and sister-in-law Rita Dornbusch (Harold). 

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, May 23, 2024, at St. Bernard Catholic Church, Wamego.  Father Mike Peterson will be the Celebrant.  Burial will follow at St. Bernard Catholic Cemetery.  Tom will lie-in-state on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, beginning at 3:00 p.m. at Campanella & Stewart Funeral Home where the family will greet friends from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m.  A Rosary prayer service will be held at 7:00 p.m. 

The family suggests memorial contributions to the St. Bernard Catholic Church or Knights of Columbus, and those may be sent in care of Campanella & Stewart Funeral Home, P.O. Box 48, Wamego, KS, 66547.