So sad! John Schnabel, the legendary Alaskan gold miner and star of The Discovery Channel show ‘Gold Rush’ has died at the ripe old age of 96. Let’s take a look back on some of the highlights of his long and colorful life.
Gone but never to be forgotten! Alaskan gold miner and reality star John Schnabel has died at 96-years-old, but part of his amazing life’s work has been seen since 2010 on The Discovery Channel’s hit Gold Rush about his Big Nugget Mine operation. With his passing, let’s take a look at five things about John’s remarkable life.
Here are five things to know about John’s amazing life.
1. He started out from very humble beginnings.
John was born as a son of a Kansas wheat farmer, but during the Great Depression his family lost their farm and his father eventually headed to Alaska seeking better fortunes, leaving John and the rest of his family back down in the lower 48.
2. He helped support his family from a young age.
John was just 12-years-old when he got his first job as a paper boy. With the first money he made, he bought his family a loaf of bread and a block of cheese.
3. He later joined his father in Alaska, in hopes of a better life.
At the age of 19, John packed up everything he owned and took a steamer north to Haines, Alaska to join his dad, who had set up a sawmill operation.
4. John found great success in Haines.
In 1946, he bought and renovated the Porcupine Mill, which could produce 10,000 feet of board wood per day. He also opened up a local hardware store and was eventually elected mayor of Haines.
5. John took up gold mining to stay active following heart surgery.
After undergoing a triple bypass surgery at 68, doctor’s ordered John to stay active. He bought the Big Nugget mine and immediately became enthralled with gold mining. He went on to share his passion with grandsons Payson and Parker about prospecting, panning and operating equipment. In 2011, he turned over the operation to 17-year-old Parker, but became boss of the mine again when he left for school.
John lived such a remarkable and hard working life, and it’s great that his passion for gold mining was passed on to so many viewers and fans of Gold Rush. We can’t imagine what the show will be like with John gone!
Our thoughts are with John’s family, friends and fans during this sad time.