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Joan Varnau Apr. 24, 1925 - Sept. 1, 2019

Joan Varnau, former owner of the Bottle Works and Food Emporium on S. Jefferson St., Huntington, died on Sept. 1 in Arizona. She, along with her husband Richard or “Dick,” owned both businesses from the early 1970’s to 1989. After selling both, they retired to Sun City West, Arizona, where they enjoyed the warm weather and an active social life and pursued new hobbies. During that time, they spent many summers at their lake cottage on Big Long Lake in Wolcottville, Indiana. Dick died in 2011 after battling Parkinson’s disease. Several years later, Joan moved to an assisted living facility near Phoenix, where she continued to spread her good cheer and love of fun. Her kind heart just wore out.

Joan Gall Varnau was born on Apr. 24, 1925, in Tipton, Indiana, and died on Sept. 1, 2019, in Surprise, Arizona. Joan is survived by three sons and their spouses, two of whom live in Arizona and another in the Seattle area, and two daughters and their spouses from Sun City Center, Florida, and Boulder, Colorado. She had five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. In addition, she is survived by sisters Margaret Robinson of Richmond, Indiana, and Martha Hiawatt of Madison, Indiana, and brother, Jim Gall of Marion, Indiana.

Joan will be remembered as a fun-loving, kind and caring person to all who knew her, especially to her children and grandchildren. While she was raising her five children on a dairy farm near Portland, Indiana, Joan was active with the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, serving on the Parish Council and as adult leader for the Catholic Youth Organization. In addition, she was 4-H club leader for many years. After her youngest child began high school, she worked off the farm in a small electronics factory where she became the Chief Union Steward. She successfully led a union strike for better pay and working conditions for employees! After selling the farm in the early 1970’s, she, along with her husband, bought the two retail businesses in Huntington, Indiana.

The funeral and internment will be held in the Phoenix area on October 7.