The graveside service for Mae Ruth Wood Varnell, 84, of Athens will be at 5 p.m. Sunday at Limestone Memorial Gardens with John Sanchious officiating.

Visitation is from 4-4:45 p.m. Sunday at McConnell Funeral Home.

She died Friday, May 7, 2010, at home.

Mae Ruth Wood Varnell was born Sept. 10, 1925. She was a 1943 graduate of Athens High School and a 1947 graduate of Florence State Teacher’s College.

After college she married her high school sweetheart and put her degree on hold to raise their children. A devoted wife and mother.

Ruth was a mother to more than just her own and she was the sweetest lady you would have known.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Nannie Mae McAllister and Jesse H. Wood; brothers, Jesse Marion Wood Jr., William David Wood, Billy “BB” Wood, Bobby Wood and Gerald “Buddy” Wood; sister, Betty Maude Wood; and her husband of 62 years, Henry Franklin Varnell.

Survivors include a brother, Thomas “TE” Wood, whose wife was the late Irene Christopher; children, Dave Varnell and wife Candice of Oxford, Miss., Lynwood Smith of Athens, whose husband was the late Harold B. Smith, Gaylor Basden and husband Rickey of Decatur, Jessica Christopher and husband George of Lester, Mot Varnell of Madison, Miss., Tom Varnell and wife Melanie of Woodlands, Texas, Kelly Varnell of Danville.

Surviving grandchildren are Jeri Ann Basden and Wendy Basden, both of Tennessee, Anne Marie Varnell of Mississippi, Carissa Shillito and husband Chris of Kansas, Scott Smith and wife Kim of Athens, Dallas Shea Smith of Birmingham, Wesley Christopher and wife Whitney of Georgia, Audria Frattini and husband JD of Tennessee, Elizabeth Bullen and husband Peyton of Tennessee, Neil Christopher of Lester, Paul Varnell and Will Varnell, both of Texas.

Surviving great-grandchildren are Hannah Frattini, Noah Frattini, Dylan Frattini, Simon Frattini and Louis Shillito.

Pallbearers will be Scott Smith, Neil Christopher, Wes Christopher, Paul Varnell, Will Varnell and Christopher Wood.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to a hospice group of your choice.

Sign online guest register at www.mcconnellfuneral.com.

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