Yoshiko Arica Varney – Born September 24, 1918 Died May 17, 2013.

Born in Fort Lupton, Colorado in 1918. Her mother and father, Noki and Naojiro Ariki, were early immigrants from Japan (Naojiro in 1890), to Denver, Colorado, where Yoshi grew up. She was 1 of 5 children – Harry, Yoshiko, Nobuko (Mary), Joe, and Sammy Ariki. Yoshi traveled to Japan for a year as tradition holds, to learn the Japanese language and culture when she was nine years of age. She was an engaging woman, both in her youth and in her old age. As a young woman in Denver, she was an owner of a beauty parlor in the late 30’s and early 40’s. She was also active in the YWCA , Simpson Methodist Church, Lisle Fellowship, Girl Scouts, and Denver’s Japanese community. In her later years, in Whitewater, Wisconsin, she remained very active in her community. She was an organizer for the Whitewater League of Women Voters, the International Student Association at UW Whitewater, the World Federalists, and the Unitarian Universalists. She taught in many capacities: as a daycare teacher, in Unitarian Universalist Religious Education, classes in Asian cooking, and in Ikebana (the art Japanese flower arranging).

She met and married Charles (Chuck) Varney in 1948. They were married for 60 years. Chuck use to say that he had been captured by the Japanese twice in his life: once as a prisoner of war in World War II (where he was captured by the Japanese on Wake Island); and again, upon his return, when he was captured again by the Japanese in Denver by Yoshiko Ariki in 1948. They were an intercultural marriage when it was not yet a universally accepted concept.

She will be best remembered for her candor, in providing both solicited and unsolicited advice. She was a Mother to all. She was easily approachable, and all people, children, teenagers, adults, all ages, all sizes, all colors, and all types, liked to talk to her and often sought her counsel.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles; and her son, Kent. She is survived by children, Joan (April), Kim (Peggy), Sue (Bill), and Teri (Linda). She is also survived by six grandchildren, Maya, Liam, Yoshio, Aaron, Jessica (Carlos and Santiago), and Alison (Matthew). They moved to Whitewater, Wisconsin in 1963 and called it home till Chuck passed in 2007. The Varney family moved to Hong Kong for two years in 1968. The family traveled extensively, having visited: Japan, Thailand, India, Afghanistan, Russia, and Europe. Once their children grew up, Yoshiro and Chuck continued to travel on into their 70’s to Europe, China, Russia, Japan, Egypt, South African, New Zealand, Australia, and South America and all over the United States.

Celebration of Life Memorial Services will be held at Fairhaven Fellowship Hall in Whitewater, Wisconsin on July 27, 2013 at 2 PM. Condolences and remembrances to the Varney Family can be mailed to Kim Varney, 2904 E 109th Ave, Northglenn, Co 80233 or Email at kimmo2001@gmail.com.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donation be sent in Yoshiro Varney’s name to: Unitarian Universalist Service Committee gift using our online donation form or mailing a check to UUSC, PO Box 808, Newark, NJ 07101-0808, or to Human Rights Campaign at HRC Donate or mailing your check to: HRC-Membership, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20036. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.

Gunderson Fitchburg
Funeral & Cremation Care
2950 Chapel Valley Road
(608) 442-5002

Celebration of Life Memorial Services will be held at Fairhaven Fellowship Hall in Whitewater, Wisconsin on July 27, 2013 at 2 PM.