Cover photo for Alphonso Benjamin Varner's Obituary

Alphonso Benjamin Varner

December 21, 1928 — October 30, 2022

Fort Valley

Alphonso Benjamin Varner


Edwards Small Mortuary announces with our deepest condolences the passing of Coach Alphonso Varner on October 30, 2022.  

Alphonso Benjamin Varner, affectionately called “Hubba Hubba,” was born December 21, 1928 in West Palm Beach, FL to the parentage of Voley Williams and Estella D. Varner.  He had four sisters and one brother who have preceded him in death. His early childhood church was Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church, West Palm Beach, FL.  

Upon graduating from Industrial High School, West Palm Beach, FL, he continued to further his education by earning his B.S. and Master Ed. degrees from Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL, where he played football and later coached. His mentor was the legendary Coach Jake Gaither.  His football accomplishments include: Two-time All American Tackle 1950 and 1951 at FAMU and All Alaska Tackle in 1953.  

He became Head Football Coach of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, FL., and later moved to Fort Valley where he was named the first Instructor of Military Science & Tactics at Fort Valley State College (now University), and was also  an Assistant Professor of Military Science.   At this fine institution he would later become an Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education and Defensive Coordinator for FVSC Wildcats, known as Blue Death” Defense.  Under his tutelage and which he takes pride in, many of his football players achieved successful accomplishments in many professions, to include professional football.  

Brother Varner was an active member of Fred Douglas Lodge #143 F & AM., PHA for over 50 years, and was honored by the Lodge for that accomplishment on April 1, 2017 with an elegant recognition/celebration banquet at Fort Valley State University Pettigrew Center.  Brother Varner received his 50 year pin for 50 continuous years of membership with the Lodge, along with a Life Membership plaque.  The Lodge also established a scholarship in his name at The Fort Valley State University. He served as Assistant Secretary for over 20 years.  Brother Varner participated in many of the Masonic Lodge’s community outreach programs, such as issuing fruit baskets and Christmas cards to residents of Fort Valley Health Care Center and Virginia Gardens Assisted Living Center on Christmas Day.   In 2018 he received a Certificate of Appreciation from Peach County Retired Educators and in 2019, and he also received an Emeritus Plaque from Georgia. 

In 1988, Coach Varner retired from FVSU.  He was also a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the U.S. Army.  In 1983, he was inducted into Florida A & M Sports Hall of Fame; and in 1997 the Wall of Fame. That same year, Coach received an FVSU Distinguish Service Award. In 1998 Coach was inducted into the Southern Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (SIAC) Hall of Fame and FVSU Hall of Fame in 2010.   He was a life member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), and was also a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He was initiated into the Alpha Xi Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity at Florida A&M  University in 1952.   Among other endeavors, he found time to remain active with various ministries of his church, the Peach County Retired Educators Association, and the Fred Douglas Lodge #143 F & AM., Prince Hall Affiliated.  

 He was married to the late Juanita Edwards Varner, and had three daughters who are deceased: Denise V. Jackson, Gina Varner, Wanda Chambers and one grand daughter, Tracie McNabb, who also preceded him in death.

He leaves to cherish his memory, his loving wife, Mrs. Maggie L. Varner, their daughters: Desiree V. O’Bryant (Samuel), and Brenda Henley; five grandchildren: Thaddeus (Lisa) Jackson, Lagwana Brown, Lelita (Antonio) Fuller, Jerrell Howard, Frances O’Bryant; ten great grandchildren and a host of loving and caring nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Alphonso Benjamin Varner, please visit our flower store.
Coach Varner-s Program from his Celebration of Life.pdf

Past Services


Thursday, November 3, 2022

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, November 4, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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