Gary was born in a coal camp in McRoberts, Kentucky and raised in the small coal-mining town of Pound, Virginia. He credits growing up in small towns as the inspiration for his storytelling. Gary was a dreamer and wanted to “try everything and see the world.” He was drafted into the U.S. Army after graduating from East Tennessee State College in 1962. He spent seven years in the Army, attending Officer Candidate School (OCS) to become an officer, Flight Training School to become an Army aviator and a year in Vietnam as a reconnaissance and combat support pilot in the Go Cong Province.
Gary spent twenty-eight years in healthcare administration before retiring in 1999. He served as the Executive Director of the Johnson City Area United Way for two years while a search was being conducted for a permanent director. He retired from this position in 2004
Gary has been telling stories for years to his children and grandchildren. His first storytelling in a public venue was to an audience of about 400 during Talent Night on an Alaskan cruise. He has told stories at reunions, civic clubs, churches, open mike time at several Festivals, select audiences, Gray and Shoemaker Elementary School, Mountain Makings Festival, Tusculum College, Holston Home for Children, Doak House Museum and at the Cranberry Thistle in Jonesborough with the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild
Gary is the Author of Let Me Tell You a Story, available on audio-book, The Adventures of Homer the Worker Ant, a children’s book and is working on a novel about his maternal grandfather.
Gary lives in Johnson City, Tennessee with his wife Peggy, his high school sweetheart. Gary enjoys golf, writing, traveling, telling stories, and mostly his wife, his two children and four grandchildren.
Gary is a member of: Appalachian Authors Guild & Associates ( Board member), Lost State Writers Guild, Jonesborough Storytellers Guild, (Performing member) Tennessee Storytelling Association
Contact Gary at the address above for programs, workshops and presentations.
Gary D. Varner
Johnson City, TN