CARBONDALE – Sally J. Varsa, 81, passed away peacefully with family present on Saturday, January 28, 2023, at Swedish Hospital in Englewood, Colorado.
Sally was born on November 8, 1941, to Dr. Salvatore A. and Hilda Jane (Steendahl) Dimiceli in Oak Park, Illinois. She married Dr. Edward C. Varsa on August 28, 1965, in Bartlett, Illinois.
Sally is survived by her children Stephen (Maryann Ryan) Varsa of Nevada, Iowa, and Jessica (Eric) Johnson of Arvada, Colorado; grandchildren, Thomas, Sarah, Connery, and Emma; brother Salvatore Dimiceli of Jamestown, Tennessee; sister Louise (Andy) Mitran of Chicago, Illinois; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Edward; parents Salvatore and Jane; and brothers Michael Dimiceli and Jon Dimiceli.
Sally grew up on the family farm in Elgin, Illinois. She graduated from Elgin High School and received her Bachelor of Science from the School of Agriculture at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. While at SIU, she participated in synchronized swimming and exploring the local area on horseback. Being the School’s first female graduate student, Sally is fondly known at SIU as the “First Lady of Agriculture”. Sally was the librarian and special learning needs teacher at Giant City School, and later was an office assistant for Habinger law firm in Carbondale.
Sally was very active in her faith. She was a member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church where she was a member of the choir, planned music, participated in liturgical roles, was a teacher for the Parish School of Religion, a member of the Women’s Club, and shared her kindness with parishioners and the community. After moving to Colorado in August 2022, Sally became a member of Spirit of Christ Catholic Community in Arvada Colorado, actively participating in the music ministry.
Sally grew up raising cattle, and loving, raising, and showing numerous horses. She was a member of the American Quarter Horse Association, Centerline South Dressage Club and a parent-sponsor of the Boskydell Pony Club. She was active in organizing and volunteering for local dressage horse shows and eventing for many years. Sally also loved her dogs, raising Doberman Pinchers and adopting many of her pets, and was a member of the Crab Orchard Kennel Club. Sally started the Indian Creek Warriors 4H club where she mentored numerous children. Sally’s many passions included photography, books, music, sewing, computers, playing the harp, cooking and sharing pies and other items with her many friends and sharing her hospitality.
Funeral Mass will be at 10:30AM on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, preceded by the Rosary at 10:00AM, at the Church of St. Francis Xavier in Carbondale with Father Robert Flannery officiating. Visitation will be from 8:30AM until 10:00AM at the church on Tuesday. Private burial will follow at Marissa City Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Carbondale stfxcarbondale.org, Food for the Poor www.foodforthepoor.org, or the American Cancer Society www.cancer.org.
Meredith Funeral Home in Carbondale assisted the family with arrangements. To leave a story or memory of Sally, visit www.meredithfh.com.