Varnell left Natchez and world better

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Neil Varnell was what some people might call a Natchosian, meaning he lived here because he wanted to live here.

The retired psychologist lived here for decades not because he had to or because he couldn’t afford to move.

He lived in Natchez because he loved the community and the place.

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For the last several years, Varnell operated a bed and breakfast at which he hosted countless visitors, where he enjoyed showing them the city he admired so much that it was his adopted home for nearly 45 years.

In his life, Varnell loved the town so much he generously gave money to causes and even would take the city to task if he thought it was messing something up, including suing the city government when needed.

But it’s his deep, generous gifts in his will that caused thousands to take note.

You see, Varnell died on March 6, but he left a mark on Natchez through love.

He loved the community so much he gave effectively all he had to a more than a dozen local non-profits.

The value of his gifts was approximately $2 million, the results of a lifetime of accumulating income and saving it.

Varnell’s gifts will mean a number of non-profits have the ability to do great, lasting things in the community.

His generosity is an inspiration to us all. When we leave this Earth — and we all will — are we leaving it better than when we arrived?

For Natchez, Varnell certainly did that and we are thankful for his contributions — as a citizen and as a benefactor.