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Published On: Thu, Feb 18th, 2016

Grandpa John Schnabel of Discovery’s ‘Gold Rush’ turns 96, talks virtue, past

ohn Schnabel with his grandson Parker, star of Discovery’s Gold Rush (courtesy of Discovery)

ohn Schnabel with his grandson Parker, star of Discovery’s Gold Rush (courtesy of Discovery)

As anyone who watches Discovery Channel’s mega-hit series GOLD RUSH knows, John Schnabel has been a guiding force to his grandson Parker. Born in 1920, John is the son of a Kansas wheat farmer. His father brewed bootleg alcohol during prohibition and the family had to leave the farm when the US Marshals came looking for him. At 19 years old, John packed up his possessions and took a steamer north to Haines, Alaska, where he joined his father, who had set up a sawmill.

John has certain seen and experienced much of the world. The day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, he volunteered to join the US Navy, but was placed in the Air Corps. After the war he returned to Haines and bought Porcupine Mill, which he renovated to produce 10,000 feet of board wood per day. John went on to open a local hardware store and was later even elected mayor of Haines!

At 68, John suffered heart problems and underwent a triple bypass. His doctor recommended that he keep active so John bought the Big Nugget mine and started gold mining. He taught his grandsons Payson and Parker how to prospect, pan and operate equipment and passed on to them his passion for gold mining.

Today John – affectionately known as Grandpa – turns 96 years old. He continues to be a guiding force to all those who know him (as well as the millions of fans of GOLD RUSH). He lives his life with optimism and believes a positive attitude improves your chances of longevity and quality of life.

We recently caught up with Grandpa to hear what advice he has to share. Check out the video below. Wishing him a very happy and healthy 96th birthday!

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