Table of ContentsExpand
  1. Early Life
  2. Career
  3. Personal Life

What was John Schnabel's net worth and salary?

John Schnabel was an American gold miner who had a net worth of $7 million at the time of his death in 2016. The Schnabel family is part of the cast of "Gold Rush Alaska", also known as "Gold Rush", a series that follows a group of gold miners as they attempt to earn a living mining for gold in Alaska and the Klondike. He was featured on the first six seasons of Gold Rush but unfortunately his health began to decline and he stepped back from the show.

Early Life

John Schnabel was born in Kansas on February 11, 1920. Schnabel's first job was working as a paper boy and with his first paycheck he bought bread and cheese for his struggling family. John's family worked as bootleggers and they were forced to flee to Alaska when John was young when the authorities caught up with them. He joined his father in running a sawmill in Alaska at the age of 19 and served in WWII in 1939 when he joined the US Army Air Corps after the attack on Pearl Harbor. John served in the Army from 1941 to 1946.


John Schnabel owned the Big Nugget mine in Alaska. He also owned the Gold Nugget Mine in Porcupine, Creek, Alaska, which he bought at age 68 as a way to keep active. His son, Roger Schnabel is also a part owner. His grandson, Parker Schnabel, who was just 17 years old when he started and is now 28 as of 2022, currently runs the family mine, and is hoping to keep it profitable so that it can remain a family-run business.

John was approached in 2009 by executive producers of the Discovery Channel with a proposal to feature him and his family on a reality show. "Gold Rush Alaska" debuted in December 2010 and started its eighth season in 2017. Mr. Schnabel's mine has been successful for quite some time, and the other mining groups often turn to Big Nugget for advice or instruction. John Schnabel suffered a well-publicized heart attack that was a featured storyline during the second season of the reality series. John Schnabel chose to retire from daily mining work in 2014 but still offered his decades of experience to help guide both his son and grandson as they navigated the competitive and brutal gold mining industry. He gave Big Nugget Mine over to his grandsons. Season 12 of "Gold Rush" began airing in March 2022.

Personal Life

Schnabel married Erma Dire in 1950. Their family includes two daughters, a son Roger Schnabel, and sons Parker and Payson Schnabel.

At the age of 67, John underwent a successful triple bypass open heart surgery. John Schnabel died on March 18, 2016 at the age of 96 in his sleep at his home in Oakland, California.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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