Dr. Edward Lee Varnado Sr.

January 31, 1941 ~ October 19, 2020 (age 79)


Edward Le Varnado was born in Magnolia, Mississippi, on January 31, 1941, to Reverend James Edward and Alma Lee Dillon-Varnado. He was blessed to be raised by his grandparents in Amite County, Mississippi. After graduating from Pike County Agriculture High School in 1959, he relocated to Oroville, California in 1960. He attended Yuba College in Marysville, California, and received a degree in Industrial Arts. Edward met the love of his life, Evelyn Deloris Jones in Oroville, and they were married on November 22, 1961. This inseparable couple was blessed with four sons, after moving to Sacramento, California in 1963.

Edward accepted Christ and was baptized at the age of 10. He accepted his call as a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and preached his first sermon on May 10, 1967, at the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, under the leadership of the late Pastor Sim Walton, Jr. He was ordained under the leadership of the late Dr. Tilman Wade, Sr., at First Baptist Tabernacle Church, on June 28, 1970. Education was important to Minister Varnado, so he pursued and received a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's degree in Christian Education from the Missionary Baptist Colege, Sacramento. He later received two Doctorate of Letters, one from Conroe College and the other from Harper Baptist Seminary.

Because of his excellence in preaching and teaching he was called to pastor the true Vine Baptist Church, Sacramento in October 1972. One year later he was called to pastor the Macedonia Baptist Church in October 1973. The two churches merged to become one body in Christ. His total pastorate expanded over 49 years. He had a love for his lord and a passion to preach God's word with power. Throughout his ministry, many souls came to Christ and he equipped all who joined the Church with an understanding of the bible.

Pastor Varnado served in many capacities in the St. John Baptist Asociation, First Northern Central District Asociation, California Baptist State Convention, and Sacramento Association of Southern Baptist Churches. He served as President of the Sacramento Baptist Ministers Conference. He served as a Chaplin for the Sacramento Police Department. Being civic-minded, he served as President of the Del Paso Elementary School District for 8 years, to ensure that the children of this underserved community's educational needs were met.

Pastor Varnado had a unique way of pouring into the lives of young ministers. He was a mentor to them as well as a model for the life that he preached about. Some of his spiritual sons went on to be pastors of churches. He was blessed with a voice that would resonate throughout the congregation, whether he was preaching, praying, or singing the songs of the old saints. He knew empathically that his God was real in His Soul, Isaiah, 46:96. He often ended his sermons with the song He's Real.

Pastor Varnado had a passion for technology and could always be found with the latest gadgets. He was an avid Oakland Raiders fan. His loving wife made sure that he was always dressed to perfection, as she was his number one cheerleader. His family was extremely important to Pastor Varnado, and Evelyn as they embodied Proverbs 2:6. A devoted husband, father, grandpa, and brother.

On October 19, 2020, he transitioned from labor to reward, seeing the face of the Savior he preached about. He was reunited with his parents and son, Eric Charles Varnado who had preceded in death. He leaves to celebrate and cherish his legacy, his beloved wife, of nearly 59 years, Evelyn: their sons, Edward L. II (Ann), Eldred James (Ruth) and Elliott (Tina); Siblings, Sarah Oakley, Charles Varnado (Margaret) and George Hayes (Maranda); Grandpa to 22 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. He also leaves 6 sister-in-law's, 6 brothers-in-law's, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, friends, and the greater church community of Sacramento and California.    


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Funeral Service


October 27, 2020

2:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Thompson Rose Chapel
3601 5th Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817

Funeral Service
October 28, 2020

11:00 AM
Antioch Progressive Baptist Church
7650 Amherst Street
Sacramento, CA 95832

Video is available for this event

Please note
Due to Covid-19, the celebration service is by invitation only. The public is welcomed at the Graveside committal @ 2 pm located at Sunset Lawn Memorial Park. Thank you. The Password for the service is: view
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