Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Deputy Sheriff Robert William Varner, Jr.

Navajo County Sheriff's Office, Arizona

End of Watch Monday, January 2, 1989

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Deputy Sheriff Robert William Varner, Jr.

Your name is forever inside a little red book with the name, Pocket Partner. Your friend, Dennis Evers, dedicated this book to you as well as Dave Zesiger and Bruce Peterson. Before I go on duty I reflect on my duties and the sacrifices you and other men who have gone before have given. You will not be forgotten.

Security Officer Thomas Ball
Onsite Security

January 27, 2023

Bob, tomorrow evening, 12/31/2022 will mark the end of the 34th year since you were shot and on the 2nd of January, begins the 35th year since your life was taken. I regret not leaving more reflections over the years, but you know there isn't a day that goes by that you aren't in my thoughts. We lost Don Williams in 2021 and George McGuire earlier this year and they are missed greatly. Since I retired in 2003, I have been active with the Coalition of DPS Retirees, Inc, serving as the Chairman for the past 8 years and the Vice Chairman for 8 years before that, and also the AHP/DPS Heritage Museum as a staff member, and as a Civilian Reserve assigned out of the Director's Office. I hope I have brought honor to you with my service.
Under the suggestion of the current DPS Director, Heston Silbert, in 2019, the Museum was given floor space in the headquarters building, and now memorial bricks honoring DPS retirees are being placed on both sides of the walkway leading up to the front door of the museum. As a DPS retiree, a brick with your name, rank and dates of AHP/DPS service are engraved on it. I was able to place a group of 11 retired DPS employees bricks together and included in that group with your name are Sgt. Bob Harvey, Officer Don Williams, Officer George McGuire, Det. Dennis McNulty, Officer/Paramedic Don Uhles, Sgt. Calvin Vance, Sgt. Colin Peabody, Exec. Secretary Lillian Peabody, Lt. Ed Felix, and Don's son, Officer Kevin Williams. All of those names are related to our total service and brotherhood with the AHP/DPS family from 1951 through present time. Cal Vance was the resident Highway Patrolman in Sierra Vista when I was growing up and was mostly responsible for my becoming a Patrolman 55 years ago and Ed Felix was a resident Highway Patrolman in Bisbee and was responsible for Don Williams becoming a Patrolman 50 years ago. Sgt. Bob Harvey was our Sergeant in Winslow and District 3 for many years.
In 2020, The Coalition of DPS Retirees authorized books containing the stories of AHP/DPS employees and stories about you are in those books. Paul Palmer and I were honored to be able to compile those stories for publication.
Rest in Peace Bob, until we meet on the other side.

Sergeant Colin Peabody #481, Retired
Arizona Department of Public Safety

December 30, 2022

Robert and Joan (Daughter) as you know by now your wife and mother Cathy passed on Oct 30th, you three can now catch up and be free of worldly troubles. I remember when you were shot, I was a troubled high school kid and eventually went on to serve as a LEO, inspired in part by your service and how your death affected the Winslow community. The world needs more people like the Varners. Godspeed.

Retired LE

November 2, 2019

Its been a long time since that night, I still think of you and our times together and there were many. all make me smile save one. I miss our talks and our meetings at the Pacific it was the best of times.
Rest easy my friend until we meet again.

Cmdr David Burke
Navajo County S.O.

April 19, 2019

Bob was my friend and mentor. His family took me in. It broke my heart when he was murdered. Those who worked with him like George McGuire and Emmitt Martin felt the heavy loss. I will always remember him as my personal hero.

Robin MacIntire
Retired LE

January 1, 2019

My heart is breaking today. Your family lost another member today. Joanie has joined you in heaven. i know the two of you will have a lot to talk about. Prayers and love to your family today.

A/C Survivor Stan Jerlecki
A/C Brother of Joan

September 6, 2017

I was just talking to a friend from TUCSON PD,,Offier Nunez..telling him about you and the incident that took your life. You were a special friend to me. I knew you at Navajo As when you were with AHP.,used to do ride alongs with you on I40., then you and I worked together at the helium plant.,we had some good laughs on,overnite fishing trips. I was very saddened to hear of your death. It still brings tears in,my eyes.,you were great friend,

Sgt Don Winkler
xCapitol Guard and Patrol..your friend always

January 20, 2017

I don't remember Bob very well. I do know he was a family friend, and it devastated my family when this happened. Tomorrow, December 12, 2016, the Navajo County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard will be placing a wreath at his headstone at the Winslow Desert View Cemetery. I will be there in support of Bob's family. Some will be there, and some will not... but he will never be forgotten.

Deputy Shane Robertson
Navajo County Sheriff's Office

December 11, 2016

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

Marshal Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

February 17, 2016

February 14, 2016. Exiting the off ramp I spotted an unusual, beautiful Blue pair of lamps lighting up the parkway in the 'gore point' under the I-40 overpass.

Out of curiosity, and knowing, sadly, it had to be something 'special', my wife, teenaged son and I stopped by the next morning on the way out of town to investigate.

I was saddened to confirm my worst fears. It was the location of a officer losing his life.

All I had, was the Red Rose I had given my wife for Valentines Day the night before over dinner, and I left it there for you at the site.

As being a recently medically - force retired Officer out of Southern California after 27 years on the job, Motor, and EVOC Instructor, as well as later, the Supervisor of the Detective Division, I shared the same words I had told many a student of mine; The last thing anyone in Law Enforcement wants, nor should have to do, is be "memorialized" by having an Interchange, Park, section of Highway or Flag Pole dedicated to his name, after giving his or her life in the line of duty. My son desperately wants to follow my footsteps into the Military and eventually, a career in Law Enforcement. After all that I have seen, and the way I was treated, not by those I encountered on the street (those were bad enough, at times) but, rather in the unappreciative and outright criminal denial of medical coverage, proper retirement pension, and by my discovery that some of the worst criminals around are those whom I work for, I struggle every day with his desire to serve an unappreciative public, system or government.

It saddens me that your life ended, just as my Law Enforcement 'life' began. But, it swells my heart with joy in reading all the responses from everyone who's lives you had (very likely, unknowingly) touched so deeply, and that YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE.

I just wish there were a more detailed paragraph describing the events that resulted in the loss of your life. But, I guess now a days I can try a quick internet search.

May you rest in peace, brother. You are still serving as a great, positive example, role model and demonstration of what kind of human being we should all strive to be.

To his family, God Bless. To him, we all Thank You.

Sergeant Jay Wilburn
San Marino Police Department, CA.

February 17, 2016

Dear Varner Family,
I have had the privilige of working with Steve Varner at Vanguard for the last 15 yrs or so. Steve is a very hard worker but yet somehow always had time to tell me a joke and brighten my day (that was usually politically incorrect). I graduated from high school in 1989 when Officer Varner was taken and was also in IL at the time. My wife and I moved to AZ in 1994 and have 7 kids and have deep roots here in Phoenix. We are so sorry for your loss and praying you will remember the good times, especially during the holidays.

Jim & Liz Boyer
Friend of Steve

November 18, 2015

Rest in Peace, Deputy Varner. Though it has been many years since your passing, I know you are deeply missed by your family, friends, and co-workers. You served your community well, for many years.

My prayers are with each and everyone of them. I pray that God continues to comfort them. I pray that each memory they have of you is like a warm hug, and brings them comfort.

Kathryn Felts
Mother of & Family Member of Law Enforcement Officers

September 22, 2015

I only met you once cousin Bobby. 1973, I was 7 years old and my mom, your first cousin Susie Gibson (Deaton) and my dad stayed at your house for a couple of days. We were driving cross country on vacation and had stopped to see you. I was in awe of your tall commanding presence and how full of life you were. YOU were the one who put the dream of being a police officer in my mind. I was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea 1988-1989 when I got the Red Cross notification from mom about you. You are still a legend in the family and in Arizona. I wish I could have known you more.

Drew Gibson

October 12, 2014

I met Bob during a homicide investigation of a family member. I was immediately impressed with his kindness and integrity. as time went on I developed a deep respect for him and trusted him as a friend. He promised me he woyldnt give up and he never did. With great care and dilligence he gave me hope and someone to believe in. May The Creator keep you close and protect those yoy did and those that loved you as you did. With great respect from the girl you taught to cry when I heard you were gone.

ADRIANNE JOSEPH - civilian turned friend
May God keep you close and protect all those who knew you as you did

June 17, 2014

I got to know Bob Varner during a homicide investigation he was conducting on a family member. When it began to look like no one else cared and the case had been abandoned, Bob came on the case. I developed a liking for him and a deep respect. He told me he wouldnt give up and he didn't. with care and diligence he gave me hope. I cried for who you were to the end.

ADRIANNE JOSEPH - civilian turned friend
May God keep you close and protect all those who knew you as you did

June 17, 2014



Karen Morgan

January 2, 2014

Bob helped raise money for the fire works every year. Remember a couple of ears we had yard sales. Can remember bob helping in his overalls. Liked to wear overalls

Tess Kenna

January 2, 2014

My Dad was a friend of Mr. Varner, and as a young man who was interested in Law Enforcement, I participated in the Ride-along-program, and rode with Mr. Varner when he worked with the Arizona Highway Patrol.....He is the reason I am in Law Enforcement today....Thanks Bob,.....will always remember you........

Chief Officer
Friend, New Mexico Crime Prevention

June 30, 2013

My Father knew Bob, and when I was a Senior in High School I rode with Bob a couple of times, and he was my inspiration to go into Law Enforcement.....Thanks Bob,....You are the reason I'm where Iam at today. Winslow always will remember you and all that you have done for all. Rest in Peace my Friend.

Chief Officer
New Mexico Crime Prevention

April 24, 2013

Bob was a good friend of my dad, I've rode with him a few times, and is the reason that I got interested in Law Enforcement.....Thanks Bob for all the great memories....Winslow still remembers and will never forget you.............Proud of you.

Chief Officer
New Mexico Crime Prevention

April 23, 2013

Bob still thinking of you and all the good things you did for the community of Winslow, great mentor, father figure, veteran, Highway Patrolman and Deputy Sheriff. I'm still upset that you life ended because of that coward of a S.O.B. Even though no one else will say it I just hope you had that man to man talk with Sgt John Blazer that caused this chain of events in your life.

Love you and your family!!

Patrolman L.R. Ellis 3611
Retired AZ DPS

April 7, 2013

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

Marshal Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

January 1, 2013

I met Bop when I was a just a child, he was one of the few friends my own father had when they both worked for DPS (my dad worked in the radio shop and as reserve for DPS). My earliest memory of Bob was when he was digging around in the back of a wrecked patrol car trying to get a radio out so my dad could see if it still worked. He was the man that gave me my first junior officer badge when I was a kid. My dad was called in the night that Bob was shot so that they could use his bays at the radio shop to process the cars that were involved. Bobs funeral is my first memory of seeing my father cry. Both he and my dad were the ones that inspired me to go into law enforcement. Bob is still a respected and honored man in the DPS community. And to this day we still speak of him with admiration and respect. Bob you are missed and and to this day still loved.

SPC 860th MP Company
United States Army

December 10, 2012

Hello, friends and family of Robert Varner, although I knew Bob when he was a Arizona Highway Patrolman, I still remember
the phone call saying he was dead, but never left a name or who was dead, I , of course found out it was Bob (the Fly on the cb),
He arranged for me to travel to Winslow, Az, to give and talk and show a film regarding the subject of pursuit driving ( I still teach that subject) we had many laughs together over time and still think of him often.he was a perfect example of his profession.
Rex Sagle

Friend/ Rex Sagle

February 23, 2012

I remember the phone call, that just said he was dead, and then hung up, of course later that day,I found out it was my friend, Deputy Robert Varner (on the cb The Fly). Bob arranged for me to come to Winslow to give a talk on pursuit driving, but we had many other conversations, and to me he was a perfect example of what a Law Enforcement officer should be.
I am 75 years old now, but his memory has never faded from my mind.
RIP Robert

Friend/ Rex Sagle

February 23, 2012

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