Reality TV star John Schnabel passed away at the age of 96, according to People, March 18, 2016, and he will be greatly missed by a host of family and friends.
John Schnabel’s family released an exclusive statement to People, saying, “We couldn’t have asked for a better father, grandfather and overall family man. He was a true legend and we appreciate all of your love and support as we celebrate his wonderful life.”
John Schnabel was born in 1920 and his parents were wheat farmers. However, to help his family through the tough times of no money, his father a business on the side of bootleg alcohol. However, when the US Marshals came for him one day, John’s dad left the family behind and ran away to Alaska. John’s family lost the farm after that, so on March 10, 1939, when John turned 19, he joined his dad in Alaska and together they worked at a sawmill in the town of Haines. In 1941, when Pearl Harbor was bombed, John joined the Air Corps and served his country until 1946.
In 1950, John Schnabel married Erma Dire and they had five children together. When John was 68-years-old he had to endure a triple bypass surgery. He came through the operation successfully, but his doctors told him to remain active so he could live longer. It was then that John decided to go into gold mining. He bought the Alaskan Gold Nugget Mine in Porcupine Creek and actively searched for gold. He wanted a place to take his family during the summer so they could play in the rocks and search for gold
John was not the only one in his family with gold fever, his grandson Parker wanted to find gold also. John said that Parker could not go to the mines until he was potty trained. Parker took him at his word and quickly got rid of the diapers and entered his grandfather’s world of mining.
Parker Schnabel posted this message on his Facebook page, “Early this morning my grandfather passed away after battling with several severe health issues. He was an amazing father and grandfather. I am amazed by the amount of support you all have given our family and him as he has grown old. The years we had with him are truly a blessing and he will be missed. Thank you all, it was an honor sharing with the world a very special man.”
The Discovery channel will air a special 2-hour event “Gold Rush” show featuring John Schnabel and his grandson Parker Schnabel. They will have a memorial card on-air ahead of the special event starting at 6 p.m. central time.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Schnabel family and the friends that John leaves behind.