Like his fictional judge, Harry Warren, Robert C. Varney is also a judge, having served for almost forty years in the New Hampshire District and Circuit Courts. He is the longest sitting judge in New Hampshire; this in addition to maintaining his full-time legal practice as a partner at Walker and Varney, Wolfeboro from 1973 to 2011.
When he retired from practice two years ago he increased his time on the bench from one to three days a week. And he published his first novel.
Varney was born in London, England during the World War II blitz in 1944 to a lieutenant in the US Army Air Force and a Welsh nurse. He grew up in Rochester, New Hampshire where his father had been born and raised.
After graduation from Hebron Academy, Maine in 1962, Bob Varney went to the University of Pennsylvania (Penn'66) expecting to become a writer, returning to New Hampshire after graduation to work as a reporter for Foster's Daily Democrat, his hometown newspaper.
Ten months later he entered the US Army as a lieutenant serving two years as a platoon leader in the Second Infantry Division, one of them on the DMZ in Korea.
Varney then entered Georgetown Law School ('72) in Washington, DC where he excelled, serving as an editor of the Law and Policy in International Business, and winning a clerkship to the US District Court in Washington, DC.
Varney's mother inspired him to write. Her first, and most successful book, A Welsh Story, part memoir and part novel, led to a two-year fellowship at Radcliff and a twenty-year teaching career at Antioch College, Keene.
Varney truly enjoys his work as a judge. "What's not to love about it?" he asked. "When they hand you those black robes you are blessed with the presumption that you are fair-minded, that you have the goodwill and integrity to see all sides. You have an obligation to live up to those presumptions. No one does, but everyone tries.
"As a lawyer your job is to push one position; one point of view. What a luxury it is as a judge to simply search for the truth."
Robert Varney lives in Wolfeboro with his wife of forty-two years, Maria (Mattimore) Varney. They have three daughters, a granddaughter and two grandsons.