Steve and Mary Lee Vardas, 1942-2020


Mary Lee Vardas, 78, of Sunset passed away Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020 in Decatur, and Steve Vardas, 78, of Sunset passed away Saturday, Dec. 12 in Decatur, both after contracting COVID-19.

She was born April 5, 1942 in Comanche, Okla. to Vearl and Mary Chrismon. He was born Jan. 6, 1942 in Arlington to James and Helen Vardas. They graduated from L.D. Bell High School in 1960, where he was a stand out football player and boxer and earned an invitation to play college ball. They married on Aug. 5, 1961 in Bedford.

They first met at age eight and had begun dating when they were 16, after he told her when he was 14 that he would marry her, and she told him he was crazy.

They farmed in the Bedford area, and in 1974 they moved to the Sunset area and purchased a farm in northern Wise County, where they still resided, growing a variety of truck crops such as greens, melons and tomatoes.

He also worked briefly as an oilfield truck driver and continued farming operations into 2020.

They were longtime members of the Sunset Church of Christ. He has served as a church elder and she has taught Sunday school. He was a longtime former member of the Sunset Volunteer Fire Dept., serving several terms as chief. He was fireman of the year in 1999 and named an honorary member in 2010.

Steve often had to pay a steep price for Mary Lee’s cakes at the annual fundraising auction.

The Vardases were named farm family of the year by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1991.

Their tomato crop was featured on the CBS national news during the historic heat wave of 1980.

Survivors include daughters, Lesa Major and husband Phil of Mineola and Crystal Horton and husband Jonathon of Millsap; son, Kevin Vardas and wife Melissa of Denton; grandchildren, Sam Major of Mineola, Brea, Jakob and Kallen Vardas of Denton and Isaac, Nathon and Silas Horton of Millsap. Mary Lee is survived by a brother, Kenny Chrismon and wife Shelly of Lakeside City. Steve is survived by a brother, George Vardas and wife Linda of McKinney. They also leave behind numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by a sister, Dessie Demases, and brothers Nick, Pete, Alex and Johnny Vardas.

Graveside service will be held Saturday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. at the Sunset Cemetery, with health safety protocols of distancing and masks.

Memorial donations may be made to the Sunset Volunteer Fire Dept., PO Box 243, Sunset, TX 76270 or the Sunset Church of Christ, PO Box 263, Sunset TX 76270.

Arrangements are under the direction of White Family Funeral Home in Bowie.