Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat


January 24, 2012

Couple brings fitness, vision to Pauls Valley

Noteworthy Neighbor

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Every cliché has some real life meaning to at least one person and one day Pauls Valley residents may find out what all they once had when a certain couple bids farewell this spring.

Though they came to the area at different times in their lives, both Dr. Bruce and Elisse Varner can claim a noticeable impact on their fellow citizens from his practice as optometrist in town for 30 years to her bringing healthy living by introducing Garvin County to Yoga. Of course, the very subject of health is what brought them together, something he hopes to provide through improving eyesight every day.

“What is gratifying is allowing someone to see their world,” said Bruce Varner. “The eyes are your light to the world.”

For Bruce, Pauls Valley was a way he could stick to his passions without leaving his home state of Oklahoma, with his area debut in 1982 when he opened his latest practice at 100 Maxwell Drive. However, it was his love of being an outdoorsman, particularly fishing, which convinced him to relocate from Medford at the time.

“The day they passed the penny sales tax for Longmire was the day I started looking for a lot,” said Bruce, who actually moved to town and had his building constructed by the end of 1981. “Most people think of me as an outdoorsman.”

“If you want to catch a fish, you go with Bruce,” said Elisse.

Elisse, who met Bruce while they were separately on vacation and was invited to come to the area, settled down in the community in June 2004 and didn’t wait long to find people interested yoga as exercise. What started as a curiosity at the Bosa Center grew to a part time gig the Donald W. Reynolds Recreation Center six year later and something the couple could do together.

“Even though my experience has been a quarter of Bruce’s, it’s been wonderful,” said Elisse, who has been an instructor for some time, though it was a long time hobby before that. “From the moment I got here people were very welcoming to me.”

There are two options for those in the yoga frame of mind, with the beginners course offered at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and for those a little more limber the advance class takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays, said Elisse. Complimenting that is Bruce’s 5:30 a.m. stationary bike spinning class for the early birds as well as Elisse’s 5K class.

“I’m just so excited about this Reynold’s center,” said Elisse, noting how Bruce also brings with him previous athletic experience from his own younger days. “Bruce and I are the a.m. crew... It’s Bruce and Elisse in the morning.”

They also discovered how quickly one gets pulled in if someone makes enough effort to better their community. Bruce has spent plenty of hours outside the office volunteering for just about every civic organization from Rotary Club to the Lake Board, though perhaps his greatest memories come from getting to raise two children here, Brook and Bryson.

“People ask me what I do and I’d tell them I don’t have time to know, said Bruce.

Elisse has also on several occasions found joy through various projects through the Pauls Valley Arts Council. When she first arrived she got a chance to get involved in what was the early PV theater scene with “Don’t Drink the Water” and noted how thrilled she was to be cast even though she would have been fine just helping out backstage.

“That was one of the smartest things I’ve done since I came here,” said Elisse, who played the part of Kilroy in her first play before participating in a couple of others. “It was the first opportunity to do something on my own.”

In the end, the Varners have plans to move to the Santa Rosa Beach area in Florida at a to-be-determined date and are currently considering neighborhood options. They will miss the pastures of their land here in Oklahoma, the ponds and even their two donkeys.

As far as the eye doctor business, it is already being transitioned over to another couple, both of them doctors in Scott and Stephanie Mendell. They will continue the tradition of offering a full service clinic which recognizes how no one patient will be like another.

“When you move to a small town you can’t expect things to come to you,” said Elisse.

Text Only
  • vacancy-sign.jpg Stay scared: 10 most haunted hotels in America An overnight stay at a haunted hotel is a nightmare come true for many thrill-seeking tourists, and travel website TripAdvisor has named the top 10 places where you can scare up a good vacation.

    October 26, 2011

  • Citizen of the Year Richelle Citizen honor an easy choice in PV

    Each year there comes along a unique opportunity in Pauls Valley for the Chamber of Commerce to choose both an individual and a company who have made a noticeable community impact.

    May 29, 2012 1 Photo

  • Noteworthy Joe Eddy Eddy closes out PV fire legacy

    There are quite a few individuals who have made a living out of setting trends, but Pauls Valley Fire Chief Joe Eddy not only made an impact through examples over the years, there’s a high bar set as he is calling it a career May 31 after 26 years.

    May 22, 2012 1 Photo

  • Noteworthy William Martin Maysville history comes to life one act at a time

    Ever since the dawn of classroom based learning, teachers and administrators have struggled to find ways to engage their pupils in each semester’s curriculum.

    April 24, 2012 1 Photo

  • Noteworthy ECU Fashion ECU students ready for PV Trash Fashion

    Whether or not the fate of Pauls Valley’s first ever Trash in Fashion Show will include return engagements ultimately depends on both the participation of contestants and the support of the community, but there is promise at least on the youth side.

    April 10, 2012 1 Photo

  • Noteworthy Jim Mayberry Market grows on vocational manager

    Though seven years the creation of other minds via the Garvin County Community Living Center, one man who has become synonymous with the Valley Farmers Market over the past few has been Vocational Manager Jim Mayberry.

    April 3, 2012 1 Photo

  • Noteworthy Praytor-Joy Team fashion makes old new again

    Following a set theme may seem to be a form of limitation placed on the creative process, but for those in the Pauls Valley arts scene, those similarities will feed instead of inhibit what makes their work unique.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • Noteworthy Trash in Fashion Team recycles for fashion

    Art in some ways can always involve taking an otherwise cast aside object and giving it new use, but for three Pauls Valley business owners, it’s also a chance encourage environmental responsibility in others.

    March 20, 2012 1 Photo

  • Noteworthy Rick Shreve SORC like home for 40 year employee

    Being a part of the atmosphere at the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center has certainly been a challenge in the last few years alone, but for one employee, it’s just one of many chapters in a proud 40 year relationship.

    March 13, 2012 1 Photo

  • Noteworthy Jordan Henderson Minister Ministry great change of pace for youth pastor

    Keeping the flow of ministry going in any community not only requires contributions from every member of the congregation, but encouraging focus to be picked up and carried by on by each new generation.

    March 6, 2012 1 Photo

Business Marquee

  • How You Want It When You Want It Today's Pauls Valley Democrat

    Now you can view and download the Democrat right to your desktop on the day the paper is published. Click here to get more information on the Democrat's e-Edition.





    e-mail request to

    April 20, 2011 1 Photo 1 Link

AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow