Sammy Dean Varner, 1956 - 2020
Sammy Dean Varner, known to his grandkids as “Tampy”, from Bristow, was 64 years old when he passed away May 6, 2020, at Hillcrest Heart Hospital in Tulsa.
Known for his quick wit and positive outlook on life, Sam was endeared by his family and many friends. He was a man of integrity, immense character, and devoted to his family, he never shied away from helping others. He always saw the best in people and was quick to give compliments and tell you how he felt.
Born on January 13, 1956, in Sapulpa, to Jerry Dean Varner and Helen Marie Johnston Varner, Sam graduated from Bristow High School in 1974 and began his career in the cattle business.
Shortly after graduation, on June 18, 1974, Sammy Dean Varner married Melody Jamison at the First Baptist Church of Beggs, and after their wedding the new couple made Bristow their home.
Sam and Melody started Varner and Varner, an order buying company with a worn out OG&E truck and borrowed gooseneck trailer. Sam bought and sold cattle and Melody kept track of the books and all the finances. Their combined love for the cattle industry and passion for agriculture made them the perfect match.
In 1975, they started their family and were blessed with a son Sloan Dean “Pokey” and a daughter Skye DeAnn in 1978. The new family also worked on the weekends at Mid America Stockyards, a fifth-generation livestock auction. Sam was a premiere auctioneer and on any given Saturday you would find him, Melody, Pokey and Skye and as many as 20 other family members running the cattle sale, as well as operating the café and farm center, with the youngest members cleaning tables and greeting customers.
Sam, a 4th generation agriculturalist, enjoyed buying and selling cattle and always worked to meet the needs of his local, state and even national cattle and livestock customers. Sam felt it was important to protect the industry he so dearly loved. He was a long time member of the Oklahoma Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), where he served as president from 2012-2014.
When Sam was not at a sale, there was nothing he and Melody enjoyed more than traveling all over the state and nation watching their granddaughters show sheep and pigs. He thoroughly enjoyed spending quality time with the girls at the barn, whether it was helping them walk pigs, feed sheep or just spending some “Tampy Time” discussing how things were going with their animals, those were his most cherished moments. Sam loved to load up a granddaughter and Melody and take a trip down the road on his “buggy” to check on his tigerstripe heifers. He could spend hours checking pastures, cattle and planning for the next project.
Sam’s favorite hobby was also his “day job” where he loved buying and selling cattle. He was also a keen collector of unique and interesting pocket knives from all over the world. He had a passion for the 4-H and FFA and has helped numerous young people all over Creek County and Oklahoma achieve their goals and was bestowed with the Honorary FFA Degree for his commitment to agriculture and Creek County youth. But the thing Sam loved most was spending time with his family and his Lord, where he was a member of the Faith Baptist Church in Slick, Oklahoma.
Sam is preceded in death by his father, Jerry Dean Varner. He is survived by his wife Melody of 46 years, his mother Helen Marie Varner of Bristow, his son Pokey Varner and his wife Lisa of Bristow and his daughter Skye McNiel of Bristow. He is blessed with five grandchildren, Paike McNiel, Sophie Varner, Sadie Varner, Jamison McNiel and Sami Steele McNiel all of Bristow. He is also survived by his brother John Varner and wife Jeani of Bristow and his brother Jeff Varner and wife Cheryl of Bristow. He was loved and will be greatly missed by a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, plus many nieces, nephews, friends and his entire family.
A private graveside funeral will be held Friday, May 8 th , at the Bristow Cemetery under the direction of Hutchins Maples Matherly Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Sam Varner Memorial Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 900, Bristow, Oklahoma, 74010 and condolences can be sent to www.hutchinsmaplesfuneralhome.com.