John Schnabel has beaten cancer and handed the family gold mining business off to grandson Parker, and now the Gold Rush patriarch is back on television.
Schnabel will be featured as part of The Discovery Channel’s three-hour Gold Rush finale event. John will be featured on The Dirt, the first time that he’s sitting down with the other mining bosses, Tony Beets and Todd Hoffman, to discuss the business and the scramble for gold.
It is quite a turnaround for John Schnabel, who has beaten cancer as well as the internet rumor mill. In March of last year, a cliffhanger ending to the Gold Rush season that included a health scare had thousands of people taking to the internet to search if John was still alive.
But the 95-year-old is still alive and kicking, as he recently told Hollywood Soapbox.
“To reach 95 and still be able to drive myself in my car, walk without a cane, and be clear of mind, with my surroundings and others is an experience that is hard to believe. I am deeply pleased,” he said.
John Schnabel has also played a big role for his grandson, 20-year-old Parker, who is now leading the gold mining operations. John said he was ready to quit the business for good when he was first diagnosed with cancer, but the then 16-year-old Parker stepped up and offered to take over.
“It never came to mind that Parker could have a future in mining until he was 16. I decided to give up mining after I was diagnosed with cancer, and he asked me if he could continue operating the mine,” John Schnabel said. “Although I had a few misgivings, I finally gave in and helped him with paperwork and financing to give him a start. He has measured up in all areas, and I am proud of him.”
Parker said his grandfather has been a wonderful mentor.
“My grandfather has always been doing this since I’ve been around,” Parker Schnabel told Fox News. “I grew up mining with him on the mine site and running equipment … finding gold has been my life from the time I could remember.”
“That’s a big reason why we’re on the show – him and I do have a very good relationship and that resonates with a lot of people,” he added. “He’s definitely the reason that I’ve been successful … he is an old-school dude for sure.”
Parker said grandpa John Schnabel is still able to lay down the law when he needs to.
“My grandpa gets a lot of credit for keeping me in line, but my whole family and community of Haines [Alaska] have done a lot for me … it’s a great way to grow up.”
John Schnabel has certainly done a good job teaching grandson Parker Schnabel the family business. The young Gold Rush star was able to pull in more than 1,000 ounces in the recent Klondike mining season, worth close to $1.5 million.
[Image via Discovery Channel]