Gold Rush fans around the world mourn the loss of the beloved John Schnabel. Grandpa John died this morning. Parker Schnabel took to Twitter to thank fans for their condolences, stating: “Thank you all for the kind words. Grandpa John lived a great life and was one of a kind. I am glad the world got to see an amazing man.”
Discovery provided the following statement from the Schnabel family: “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.”
Grandpa John shared his gold mining expertise with his grandson Parker Schnabel on Discovery Channel’s hit series Gold Rush for six seasons. He just recently celebrated his 96th birthday on Feb. 11.
When we talked to Parker earlier this month just before the season finale, which he won, we asked him what Grandpa John had to say about his sixth season. “He was stoked. Actually, we were just down for his birthday. We had a great time. He’s 96 now.”
Born and raised in Kansas, John Schnabel packed his bags and headed north to Haines, Alaska, at just 19 years of age to join his father at making a go in the saw milling industry. He wasn’t there long before he turned his attention to serving his country during World War II, where he was in the Air Corps. After the war he returned to Haines where he purchased a mill and then later opened a hardware store. He even served as mayor of Haines. Not exactly sure when he officially started mining but he bought his first mine at age 68 — Big Nugget — and it was there that he taught Parker and Parker’s brother Payton to prospect, mine and handle all of the equipment.
He was a fabulous mentor, grandfather and TV personality people came to love. R.I.P.
Images Credit: Discovery Channel