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Harold R. Varner, FAIA

Harold R. Varner, FAIA

Harold R. Varner, FAIA

Harold R. Varner, FAIA

Harold R. Varner, one of Detroit’s premiere architects, died Dec. 14 at the age of 78. A lifelong Detroit resident and graduate of Cass Technical High School and Lawrence Institute of Technology, his commitment to the city, his profession and his family gave him iconic status, both nationally and in Detroit’s African American professional, political and social community.

Perhaps best known as the architect who designed the Charles Wright Museum of African American history, Varner was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architecture and a man of many wide ranging interests who loved life and all it had to offer, not just in the practice of architecture, but as the former board chairman of Highland Park’s Carver Charter School; one of the founders of the Efficacy Volunteers Organization; as honorary consul to the West African nation of Cote D’ Ivoire; playing golf; and as a member of the National Architectual Accreditation Licensing Board.

Long involved in politics, Mr. Varner was very active in the mayoral campaigns of Coleman A. Young and Dennis Archer, and he enjoyed membership in the Association, the Cabinet and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.

Married for 53 years, Mr. Varner is survived by his wife, Nancy; daughters, Kimberly Varner Tandy, who like her father, is an architect, son-in-law William Tandy; Stacy Varner Jackson, M.D.; five grandchildren; two sisters; and a brother.

The Wright Museum held a celebratory service in Varner’s honor Dec. 23.

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