COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — A well-respected Columbus surgeon who was paralyzed in an accident 22 years ago but continued to contribute in meaningful ways to the community has died.

Dr. William David Varner, Jr., died Thursday, Jan. 20, peacefully alongside his wife and five daughters.

He was 70.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 2:30 pm at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Midtown Columbus. Visitation will be prior to the service at St. Paul, beginning at 1 p.m.

When a tragic accident in 2000 left him quadriplegic and unable to practice surgery, Varner used his medical knowledge consulting for St. Francis Hospital and AFLAC.

He also gave back in other philanthropic ways. He was especially interested in Eastseals and served as chairman of a 6-year long capital campaign.

Varner was born on July 24, 1951 in Franklin, Va., the son of Dr. William David Varner, Sr., and Ruth Hungerford Varner.

He graduated from Hardaway High School, went to Davidson College for undergraduate school where he was a brother of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Varner earned his Doctor of Medicine from Medical College of Georgia. David then completed his internship at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and his residency at the University of Texas and Hermann Hospital, Houston Texas.

After finishing his surgical training in 1985, Varner returned home. He joined close friends Dr. Chuck Scarborough, MD, the late Dr. Luther Wolff, MD and the late Dr. William Wolff, MD in practice at Columbus Surgical Associates.

“A highly respected general surgeon, David poured his heart and soul into his practice and patients,” a news release announcing his death stated. “His passion for helping people extended into his community where he served on various boards including Boy’s and Girl’s Club, Springer Opera House, Columbus Symphony, LOCHAWABA, Leadership Georgia, Chattahoochee Valley Community Foundation, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, The Columbus Ballet, Synovus, St. Paul United Methodist Church, and St. Francis Hospital. He is past president of both the Muscogee County Medical Society and The Columbus Ballet Board of Trustees.”

Varner is survived his wife, Mary Robinson Varner, his daughters, Helen Manderson (Coate), Mary Lovett Beck (Jeff), Caroline Fields (Brandon), Sally Watkins (Tommy), and Anna Garcia (Nick) and his grandchildren: Sally, Wynne, Lovett, Gardner, Julianna, Bennett, Mims, Eliza Chance, Mary Helen, Eli, David, and Will. Survivors also include siblings Ann Viamonte (Luis), Caroline Coburn (Charles), John Varner (Kathy), and Rob Varner (Sista), and a host of nieces and nephews.

The family also expressed gratitude to his caregiver, Matthew Tyner, for the loving, compassionate care that he gave him.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations may be made to Easterseals West Georgia, 2515 Double Churches Rd, Columbus, Ga., 31909 and St. Paul United Methodist Church, 2101 Wildwood Avenue, Columbus, Ga., 31906.