CATLIN - Robert "Bob" Varner, 83, of Catlin passed away after a long, hard battle with cancer beginning in 2006 with thyroid cancer. He lost the fight at 7:18 a.m. April 12, 2019, with his loving and devoted wife by his side at home.
Robert Gene "Bob" Varner was born June 4, 1935, to Willie and Pearl (Baker) Varner in Danville, Ill.
At the young age of 6, Bob began his farming career, which he continued until his illness. Starting so young, Bob was too short to reach the tractor pedals so his dad installed wooden pegs so Bob could drive. (As we all know, he outgrew those pegs long ago.)
While attending Catlin High School (Class of '53) he received many outstanding awards, among them were American Farmer Degree and Star State Farmer. He was Illinois state FFA vice president and he spent a lot of time in Springfield representing our state farmers.
After graduation Bob was drafted into the Army where he proudly served his country. When his service was complete, he came back home to Catlin to continue farming. He raised a lot of sweet corn for the Hoopeston canning factories and to share with his family and friends.
He was a member of the Catlin Masonic Lodge since 1971 and was a Past Master. He also was a member of the Scottish Rite and Gao Grotto in Danville. Bob enjoyed many adventures and hobbies such as flying planes, cooking for get-togethers, chasing hot air balloons, fishing Key West and riding his Harley.
His favorite hobby was digging up and collecting antique bottles. It all started 50 years ago when his buddy Al Sexton introduced him to the finds from the dumps, outhouses, etc. Bob would set up and attend many bottle shows, but unfortunately the tornado in November 2013 destroyed most of his prized collection.
Surviving Bob is his wife of 41 years, Freda Mae (Haga-Eaton) Varner; biological son from a previous marriage, Brad (Holly) Varner and granddaughter Tabitha; Freda's children, Michael (Nadine) Eaton and Lisa (Glen) Martin; step-grandchildren Shane Eaton, Jesse Eaton and Amanda Ferguson; two great-grandboys, Damon and Carson Ferguson; and lastly, Bob and Freda's beloved four cats.
Freda wants to send out a big thank you to the owner and staff of the Corner Lounge and Two Brothers for allowing Bob to continue his social hour at 6:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. these past several years. The friendships and the storytelling meant so much and Bob appreciated the times when he had enough energy to venture out. A big thanks to Carle oncology doctors and nurses for giving his the best care during the long fight with cancer surgeries, chemo and radiation. Despite his failing health over the years, Bob never complained and always had a great attitude. That twinkle in his eye was there until his passing.
Funeral service: noon Tuesday, April 16, at Robison Chapel in Catlin. Burial in Oakridge Cemetery with Catlin American Legion providing military honors. Visitation: 10 a.m.-noon Tuesday at the funeral home. Casual dress is appreciated.
Memorials may be made to local animal shelters. Online condolences at
Published on April 12, 2019
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2 posts

Anne and Jim Duncan
Apr 14, 2019
Jim always enjoyed talking with Bob. A good man.
Bob Elgin
Apr 13, 2019
So sorry for your loss. I have know Bob for a long time .As young man he lived close to us. I always enjoyed talking to him.Some times I did not know him for all the wihiskers