High-Country Health Food and Cafe in Mariposa California


Braden VarneyBraden Varney

May 12, 1982 - July 14, 2018

Hard working, protector, giving, loving, sensitive, kind and quiet are a few words that describe Braden Varney. Son, brother, husband, father and friend explain the lives he’s touched. Braden was born to Gordie and Lynn Varney on May 12, 1982. Braden, at the young age of 4, operated his first snow plow that Gordie made him out of a riding lawn mower with a water tank heater chopped in half as a blade, complete with a pully system to raise and lower the tank. Lynn often found Braden putting on his boots and sneaking out of the house to go to work at first light.

Braden attended Woodland Elementary School where he made many lifelong friends. In fifth grade, Braden acquired the love of dirt when his whopping 72-pound pumpkin won first prize and grew to an incredible 4’8” around. By middle school, Braden could run anything with tracks or wheels. Braden’s face was often on the front page of the hometown paper like when his baseball team, coached by his dad, went undefeated. Braden developed into a handsome young man to the point older girls were passing him notes and often he sought council from his younger sister. In Mariposa County High School, Braden was known for hitting homeruns and working long hours to buy his first motocross bike. Again, making the front page of the extreme riding magazine.

After graduating in 2001, he enrolled in Modesto Junior College and would start three

weeks late every year due to fire season, where he operated a dozer for a private contractor. Braden was an outdoors man and always on the go whether with friends at the lake, hunting, fishing or working. He never liked to be inside. It was during this time; Varney Grading was established. Braden and Gordie worked alongside each other where they specialized in “Anything in dirt.” Their passion for helping others paired with doing what they loved made for a successful business venture.

In 2007, Braden started his career as a Heavy Fire Equipment Operator following in his dad’s footsteps, and often working on the same fire line. On February 19, 2011, he married the love of this life Jessica at Thomas Estates in Pleasanton. On that day, Braden’s house became a home. In the years to come, Braden and Jessica were blessed with two amazing children. Their daughter Maleah and son Nolan. Every free moment he had, he spent with his children. Maleah was daddy’s little princess and together they enjoyed playing dolls and the crocodile. Nolan and daddy bonded in the dirt. He inherited the operator gene and at the age of 2 nearly mastered the mini excavator. On July 14, 2018 Braden made the front-page headlines once again doing what he loved. He will forever be our hero.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Braden is survived by his wife Jessica, daughter Maleah age 5, son Nolan age 3, mother Lynn Varney, sister Chale Kirchner and many aunts, uncles and cousins. He was preceded in death by his father Gordie Varney.

Visitation for CAL FIRE Firefighter Braden Varney to be Held in Modesto on Sunday, July 22, 2018
CAL FIRE Announces Celebration of Life for CAL FIRE HFEO Braden Varney on Monday, July 23, 2018

Parking & Road Closure Notice for CAL FIRE Firefighter Braden Varney’s Celebration of Life on July 23, 2018