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January 31, 2023

Varni celebrates 100th birthday

Longtime Watsonville resident Virginia Varni recently celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends. 

She was born on Jan. 11, 1923 in Breckenridge, Texas to Charles and Grace Leonard. The family moved to Southern California and Varni gave the first-ever radio broadcast from first grade to city hall in Huntington Beach. 

They moved back to Texas where Varni played clarinet in a band and graduated from high school in Brownfield. She studied fashion design at Texas Tech, nurses training at West Texas Hospital in Lubbock and attended Heald Business College in San Jose. 

She is an avid reader and writer and enjoys photography, scrapbooking, dancing, skating, bowling, swimming, sewing, knitting and crocheting. She is a life member and past president of Soroptimist International and member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, having traced her ancestors to William the Conqueror of England and the Heidelberg family of Germany. 

Varni worked for 30 years at the Bank of America in Watsonville and has three children, Penny, Virginia and Chuck Griggs. Two husbands later, she married August “Augie” Varni of Corralitos, a local apple farmer, and inherited step-children Don, Judy and Mike Varni. Over the years, the blended family grew to 16 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren. 

Asked about the secret of a long happy life, Varni responded: “Strong genes, love of God and country, an insatiable curiosity and a good sense of humor.” 

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.



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