‘Gold Rush’ Star Parker Schnabel Shares Heartwarming Tribute to Late Grandfather

by Chris Haney

Late on Wednesday night, Gold Rush star Parker Schnabel was thinking about his grandfather and shared a short but heartwarming tribute to him on social media.

Schnabel comes from a long line of gold miners and grew up learning about the industry from his family at a very young age. His grandfather, John Schnabel, owned the Big Nugget mining company in Porcupine Creek, Alaska. During the early seasons of Gold Rush, John guest-starred on the hit Discovery Channel series.

Parker’s granddad had a fascinating story that brought him to Alaska. He lived as a bootlegger before fleeing to Alaska to evade authorities. He later joined the military, and while in the Army Air Corps, he fought in World War II. Following the war, he became a gold miner and eventually started his own business, which Parker took over at just 18 years old.

John had his fair share of health issues later in life. In 1986, he underwent triple bypass surgery but stayed active with gold mining. During his final years, John battled cancer and survived a health scare that was covered on Gold Rush. However, on March 18, 2016, John Schnabel passed away at 96 years old.

“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,” Parker wrote on Twitter at the time, thanking fans for their condolences.

Almost six years later, John is clearly still on his grandson’s mind and always will be. Parker shared a great photo of the two men sharing a laugh together and wrote a simple message alongside it.

“Miss this guy,” the Gold Rush star wrote on his touching post.

‘Gold Rush’ Star Branches Out From the Family Business and Finds Success

Gold Rush fans know Parker Schnabel well but may have learned something new about his grandfather, who clearly meant a lot to him. The pair shared a special bond and one that is carried on to this day through Parker’s work.

Parker’s success at such a young age directly reflects John passing down his knowledge of gold mining to his grandson. It may not be the easiest life, but Parker is good at what he does, and the riches frequently pay off.

As mentioned, the young Gold Rush star began to take charge of John’s Big Nugget mine while still in high school. As a teenager, he was at the helm of a crew of miners twice his age. In Season 4 of the popular reality TV show, though, Schnabel ventured out and created his own gold mining business. He chose to skip college to put his efforts into mining the Yukon instead. In fact, he used his college trust fund to help get the operation up and running.

The young gold miner stunned viewers with an extremely successful first season with his own company. In his crew’s first year together, the Gold Rush star dug up an astounding 1,029-ounces of gold. He hasn’t looked back since and has gone on to become one of the top-producing miners on the popular Discovery series.