Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One

John W. “Buddy” Varnell, age 77

John W. “Buddy” Varnell, 77, of Pine Bluff, passed away July 25, 2022, at St. Vincent Hospital in Little Rock. He was born in Pine Bluff on October 1, 1944, to the late G. B. & Rosie Kimbrell Varnell.

Buddy was reared and educated in Pine Bluff, graduating from Watson Chapel High School in 1963.  After graduation he worked for Brown Mfg. He joined the Army National Guard in November, 1965, and attended basic training at Fort Polk, LA.  He was then released to Fort Gordon, GA, for completion of training.  After training Buddy returned home and remained a member of the Army National Guard of Arkansas for 6 years.

Buddy worked for the Cotton Belt Railroad as a switchman, a position he held for 38 years, retiring in 2004.

Buddy attended Shannon Road Baptist Church.

He was preceded in death by his daughter-in-law Lee Ann Varnell (Brady). Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Carol Courtney Varnell; two sons Brian Varnell of Cabot and Brady Varnell of Pea Ridge; two grandchildren Spencer Varnell and Talan Varnell of Pea Ridge; and a four-legged grandson Jäger; sisters Eva Hankins (Don) of Horn Lake, MS; and Betty Wreyford (James); a brother Billy Joe (Mary Kay) of Sheridan; sisters Barbara Jean Lenard of Pine Bluff; Linda Overton (Jim) of Bulverde, TX; and JoAnn Taylor of Pine Bluff.

“Buddy Varnell…..Yardmaster called your name.  High-ball Pine Bluff yard.  All clear, all switches lined up.  Nothing but clear signals to heaven.  Appreciate what you did for us.” 

Memorials can be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or Shannon Road Baptist Church.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, August 13, 2022, at 10:00 am at Shannon Road Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, AR.

Arrangements have been entrusted to A Natural State Funeral Service. 2620 West Main Street, Jacksonville, Arkansas, 72076. 501-982-3400.


  • Borecky Marilynn Posted August 3, 2022 11:47 AM

    This man is a shining star in Heaven. I had the privilege to call him my friend. Always a gentleman, kind and thoughtful to everyone. He will be missed.

  • Rheba Victorino Posted August 3, 2022 11:49 AM

    I am so sorry for your loss. I am grateful to have had the opportunity of meeting Buddy at church. A wonderful man indeed

  • Judy Taylor Posted August 3, 2022 2:53 PM

    Carol and family, our prayers are with you all during your time of loss and grief. So grateful we crossed paths with you all and wish you peace that only God provides. Sending our Love.

  • Jim and Pam Bennett Posted August 3, 2022 3:07 PM

    Carol and family, we are so sorry to hear about Buddy. Praying for each of you

  • Barbara Ogle and John Rochner Posted August 3, 2022 5:57 PM

    So sorry for your loss prayers for the family 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

  • Faith Mitchell Posted August 19, 2022 8:59 PM

    You were so wonderful to work around. I always appreciated you! I am sorry! You are a shinning star now in Heaven!

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