Margaret Gingrich Varner, 74, of McAlisterville, Pa., died Sept. 27, 2023. She was born in Evendale on June 28, 1949, the daughter of J. Lloyd and Orpha Gingrich, who are both deceased. She has six younger siblings: John (Rosie), David (Phyllis), Dale (Gladys), Barbara, Paul (Deb), and Marie (Kirk Vredevelt).
In 1975, she met Roger “Tim” Varner, whom she married. He appreciated her kind, humble and gentle spirit, as well as her intelligent and benevolent ways of being generous, creative and helpful to many people. She was a wonderful mother to Josh, Jennie, Joe and Jeff, and a grandmother to eight.
She attended Lancaster Mennonite School, Millersville University and Eastern Mennonite College. She spent a summer in New York City, because education is not learned just from books. After EMC, she went to Botswana for almost four years to teach.
She visited many countries, eager to learn of other cultures. She wanted to see as much as she could of God’s creation and learn from all his people. In 1975, she registered at Bloomsburg University to earn her third degree, and she became a reading specialist.
In 1976, she took a job at West Snyder High School but soon accepted the “head teacher” (principal) position at Juniata Mennonite School in East Salem at less than half the pay. She spent most of her career at JMS, some years without accepting any salary. She was a popular teacher. She was also gifted at teaching Bible lessons at church. It was not unusual to see people tear up as she was able to present Bible lessons in a way they had never heard before.
Margaret loved reading. She had thousands of books and donated many to JMS and others. She and Tim chaired the JMS quilt committee for 25 years and created hundreds of beautiful quilts. She liked to travel. She called herself a “go-along girl,” always eager to accompany and enhance any trip or project.
A celebration service was held at Bunkertown Brethren Church. Interment was at Lauver’s Mennonite Church, Evendale.