Class A Boys Nordic state champion Roy Varney died Tuesday from injuries suffered in a farm accident. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

TURNER — Classmates and coaches remembered Roy Varney on Wednesday as a well-rounded and outgoing person who could “put a smile on anyone’s face, even on their worst days.”

Varney died Tuesday from injuries he suffered Monday while operating a piece of farm equipment that fell into a liquid manure pit at Nezinscot Farm.

Dustin Williamson, Varney’s Nordic ski coach at Leavitt Area High School, said Varney was “one of the most successful and greatest Nordic skiers I’ve had the pleasure to coach.”

“I’ve never met someone who possessed such passion and energy for Nordic skiing,” Williamson said. “He made everyone around him better. When he came to my classroom to talk about the sport and upcoming competitions, the utter glee and downright joy that beamed off of him was priceless.”

He said many memories have stuck with him over the years: the “unforgettable smile on his face” after winning the Class A Nordic classical race, the time he “held off his competitors in the KVAC and Class A pursuit races, which was not an easy task,” and his “voice that carried throughout the trails, the ski building and the bus rides.”

“The Leavitt Nordic ski team is like a second family to me and this loss is like losing a family member,” Williamson said.


Sara Thurston and Jamie Juntura, head coaches of the Leavitt Area High School outdoor track team, said Varney was a “joy to be around.”

“On numerous days, Roy would come to my room and talk about all of the things he’d accomplished on the farm prior to coming to school,” Thurston said. “He’d complete his work for school, and then put his all into his skiing and running, often putting in an extra workout after practice before going back to the farm to help.”

“For Roy, he didn’t see his work ethic as anything special,” Thurston added. “It’s just everyday life for him.”

Isaiah Davis, a history teacher at Leavitt who coached Varney in distance running, said, “When Roy wasn’t at practice for some reason, his absence left a hole.”

“We’d say, ‘It’s so quiet. I miss Roy,’” Davis said. “When we were out doing a distance run, Roy would often run way ahead, but then come running back to join the team and pick up the conversation where he left off.”

Garrett Addison, Varney’s friend and classmate, said he’ll “always remember” fishing at Cobbossee Lake with Varney and their friends.


“Roy was a special kind of kid,” Addison said. “Not only was he a standout athlete, but he was one of the nicest, well-rounded individuals you’d ever meet in your life. His smile was contagious and he brought joy to every single person around him.”

Nezinscot Farm is owned by Gregg and Gloria Varney. It was the first organic dairy in the state, and has expanded to include a gourmet food shop, cafe and bakery, fromagerie, charcuterie and fiber studio, according to the farm’s website.

A spokesman for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Wednesday it had “initiated a visit” to the farm Tuesday to determine “whether or not OSHA proceeds with an inspection.”

“We do not currently have a time frame on that decision,” the spokesman said.

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