WTVY Legend Ann Varnum passes away

Ann Varnum (Source: WTVY)
Ann Varnum (Source: WTVY)(WTVY News 4)
Published: Jun. 10, 2020 at 11:21 PM CDT
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Ann Varnum, who dominated the local television airwaves for decades, died Wednesday night. She was 80.

Varnum was born on January 15, 1940, in Dothan. After graduating from Geneva High School, she attended Huntington College in Montgomery where she received a degree in speech/English, then attended Auburn University.

After college, Ann began a career in teaching with stops at Tuskegee, Beauregard, Oxford, and eventually landed in Dothan where she remained.

In 1974 she got her big break and began working at WTVY. She remained on the station's staff until developing health problems a few months ago.

She's best remembered for hosting the station's morning show, a career spanning decades. During that time she interviewed television stars like Tom Selleck, Richard Simmons, Garth Brooks, and Dack Rambo.

Varnum once received makeup and clothing tips from NBC's Jane Pauley of The Today Show. The two broadcasting trailblazers developed a friendship after Pauley watched Ms. Varnum when Pauly vacationed at Florida beaches.

She had on-screen chemistry with her co-hosts including Bob Howell, Tom Nebel, Gary Bruce, John Michael, Tony Scott, and others.

To all of them and many others, she would share her testimony regarding the importance of God and Jesus in her life.

Varnum helped start the Girls' Club in Dothan and the Wiregrass Clearing House, a network of charitable resources and co-founder of Meadowood, a Christ-centered spiritual adventure camp.

She is the author of "Sunny Side Up" and with her sister co-authored two cookbooks, "Field O'Dreams Farm Cookbook" Volumes I and II.

Growing older, Ann reduced her work schedule but stayed active as the host of “Best Years with Ann Varnum,” which aired on weekends.

Services for Ann Varnum are being overseen by Family First Funeral Home in Dothan.