Gary Walter Schnell was born May 31, 1950 in Mineola, Long Island, New York to Walter and Lillian Schnell. His childhood days were spent in North Babylon, Long Island, New York, where he graduated from high school in 1968. During high school, he worked at the beach and loved to surf. In 1969, he attended Woodstock Music Festival, which he was very proud of!
Gary and Marla Jane Nelson met at an auction sale in Alexandria, MN in April 1976…and he always joked that he bid too high! They married June 19, 1976 and started their travels together, when Gary worked for a company out of New York. In the summer of 1977, they decided to settle in Minnesota on the farm that Marla’s parents owned. At a young age, Gary had always dreamed of working the land, so they started a beef cattle operation and did some crop farming as well. In August 1983, their first child, Grant Walter Schnell, was born. And in June 1986, Gary and Marla completed their family with the birth of their second child, Molly Beth Schnell. Gary had those kids riding in a tractor with him at a very young age and loved the time spent with them! In July 1986, Gary opened his own mechanic shop on the farm…many late nights were spent in the shop working on farm equipment and vehicles for others. In 2002, he went to work for Todd County at the Solid Waste Transfer Station and retired in 2013. Marla, Grant & Ashley and Molly & Clark planned a retirement trip that they all took together to Alaska. What great memories were made! Gary was a proud father of Grant and Molly and loved watching the accomplishments that they achieved. Being a Grandpa to Auria and Laney Schnell, put a smile on his face and a special spark in his eyes! He carried on the saying to Grant & Ashley, that his own father would say to him when Grant and Molly challenged him, “It’ll be better next year!”
Anyone who knew Gary, knew that he had two passions in life: racing stock cars and fishing. The racing was his first passion, starting in the early 1990s. Many hours of working on the car, turned into many hours of fun with family and friends. With the help of family and many friends, he had a nice run at racing and retired from that sport in 2005. From there, he moved to his next passion, fishing. It was a weekly thing to join the bass fishing league to see who could catch the biggest fish! And always jumped at the chance to go fishing with a friend. And especially loved it when he could go with Molly and Clark or Grant. “Gone fishing” was a note I found on the table many days! The winter of 2019, Gary spent a month in Florida, looking for a place we could park our camper. The past two winters, we pulled our camper down there and spent 5 months…5 months for him to bass fish!! He loved every minute of it! The picture on this memorial card is the 10.7 lb bass he caught this year…his biggest ever! He said if he never got back to Florida, he was ok, because he caught that trophy!!
Gary Walter Schnell was a member of the Clotho United Methodist Church. He went to be with his Lord and Savior, on April 23, 2021. Preceded in death by; Lillian Schnell, mother; Walter Schnell, father; Beverly Nelson, mother-in-law; Walter Nelson, father-in-law; Greig Petrie, brother-in-law.
Survived by spouse, Marla, son Grant (Ashley), daughter Molly (Clark), exchange daughter Achiraya Juttupornpong, granddaughters Auria and Laney Schnell, sister Diane Eriksen (Karl), brothers-in-law Warren, Doug (Linda), Kevin (Jean) and sister-in-law Beth (Bruce) and many nieces and nephews.
Honorary Pallbearers: Rick DeRosier, Dave Kalina, Tom Ingman, Louie LeTourneau, Marv Hinnenkamp, Darrell Hinnenkamp, Bob Anderson, Brad Hinrichs, Kevin Kerkeide.
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