Who was John Schnabel (Gold Rush)? Wiki Bio, died, net worth

The late John Schnabel is one of the founding fathers of the reality TV show, Gold Rush. A world war veteran, John had found his second calling in life when he began hunting for gold. He was later contacted by the Discovery channel, and John began laying foundations for the reality series, Gold Rush. One of the premium offerings of the Discovery Channel, Gold Rush is currently airing it’s 10th season which is expected to wrap up on the 20th of March, 2020. And even though the series has long since moved from the days John was active, his influence can still be seen in making the series what it is today. 

Early Life:

 John Schnabel was born on the 11th of February 1920 in Kansas, USA. Born in the rural part of Kansas, John comes from a family of farmers. His father owned a wheat farm and made alcohol during the time of prohibition. The family was caught by US Marshals and John was left to fend for himself.

john-schnabel-gold-rush
Late Gold Rush star John Schnabel 

John began working from the age of 12 as a paperboy. He worked several odd jobs but decided to join his father who had relocated to Alaska. Aged 19, John journeyed to Haines, Alaska and joined his father in running a sawmill. 

World War II:

When world war II broke out in 1939, John decided to join the army. He joined the US Army Air Corps after the attack on Pearl Harbor and served his country from 1941 to 1946. Now a US Army Veteran, John made the trip back to Alaska and purchased a Porcupine Mill. His life continued as usual until he started suffering from serious heart problems and had to undergo a triple bypass. Aged 68, John began thinking for his family and decided to buy property in Porcupine Creek, Alaska. 

Gold Mining:

In the recommendation of his doctors, John purchased the Big Nugget mine and started looking for gold. In the meantime, he taught both of his grandkids how to look for gold. Now, both Payson and Parker are the core crew members of Gold Rush. 

Gold Rush & Net Worth:

In early 2009, John was approached by the executive producers of the Discovery Channel for an all-new reality show. John loved the idea and a year later, Gold Rush debuted on the channel. Even though John was around for the first two seasons, his health didn’t allow him to be on the third. So, he handed the reins of the Big Nugget Mine to his grandsons and started taking a passive role. Throughout his career, John had managed to amass a net worth of USD 5 million. 

Even after taking a step back from mining, John was actively involved with the TV series. He would often dish out advice to his crew and made sure that they followed his guidelines to a T.

John Schnabel wife and children

He was a long time married to wife Erma Dire and had five children. The pair had been together ever since 1950 util death did them apart. Sadly, John Schnabel passed away on the 18th of March 2016 at the age of 96. He died peacefully in his sleep. His life was also celebrated in Gold Rush where they did a tribute episode in his honor.

John Schnabel wife
John Schnabel wife Erma Dire

 An official statement from the Schnabel family read, ‘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.’

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