Peter R. Varda, 94, passed away peacefully at his home on December 15, 2021. He was born to Peter P. Varda Sr. and Katie I. Tuberosa Varda on November 28, 1927 in Logan, West Virginia. Pete was preceded in death by both parents and son Michael Jon Varda. He is survived by his longtime companion Dawnelle Sullivan; daughters Kelly Samodral (Rodney) and Karen Turner (Steve); grandchildren Amy, Brian, Nicole, Heather, Katie, Tony, Andrew, Nick, John, and Tyler as well as numerous great-grandchildren. Pete graduated from Garfield High School in 1945, served as class president and was elected to the National Honor Society all while helping his parents at Varda’s Grocery. While at Garfield he was selected to the 1944 All-Western Indiana Conference football team and the Terre Haute Tribune’s 1944 All-Wabash Valley team as a fullback. He secured the school’s revered Danforth Award. Peter also excelled in baseball, playing for the Michigan All-Stars in the 1952 National Semi-Pro Tournament. Pete graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1950. His coaching career began in Monroe Michigan from 1950-1953 with a 15-10 record. He then moved to Schulte HS in Terre Haute where he coached all sports for three years, amassing an amazing 52-21-2 record in eight seasons as head football coach. His teams won or shared four Vigo County championships. While at Schulte a football stadium was built and named Beech-Var Stadium in honor of Pete and Father Beechem, the school’s founding principal. In 1960 Pete became a teacher and head football coach at Brazil High School. Success followed. In five years he compiled a 28-11-1 record. After leaving Brazil H.S. he moved to become a coach at HoneyCreek H.S. where he coached from 1965-68 with a record of 17-10-2, winning the 1966 Western Indiana Conference Title. His career football coaching record was 112-51-7. Pete never had a losing season. He also was an Assistant Football Coach at Rose Hulman Institute of Technology for four years after retiring from high school coaching. Pete may be best known for his accomplishments as an educator, leader and motivator. Many of his former players and assistant coaches remained in contact with Pete throughout the years, a tribute to the positive influence he had on so many lives. Though he retired from active coaching, he remained a teacher and guidance counselor at Honey Creek. He became the first athletic director for Terre Haute South Vigo High School where he worked until retiring from education. He was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1976. In 1994 he was named the recipient of the coveted Dick Martin Memorial Coaches Award, which is conferred periodically to a Vigo County coach whose principles and qualities, inside and outside the sports arena, represent ideals embodied by the late Wiley football coach Richard Martin. In addition to his storied coaching career, Pete was an Army veteran, serving as a decoder. Pete attended Sacred Heart Catholic Church. He belonged to Terre Haute Sporting Clay, Wabash Valley Football Hall of Fame, and the Notre Dame Alumni Association. Pete enjoyed shooting sporting clays, hunting, fishing, and watching football. He also loved spending time with his family and traveling, especially to Italy. Visitation for Pete will be held on Tuesday, December 21 from 4:00-8:00 P.M. at Samaritan Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be held on Wednesday, December 22 at 11:00 A.M. There will be a private family burial afterwards. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made in Pete's name to a charity of your choice.
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