Steven Schnell

Schnell, Steven A.

Steven A. Schnell, 51, Shawano, Wis., passed away peacefully on Friday, March 29, 2013, surrounded by his family after a valiant 5 1/2 year battle with brain cancer. He was born on March 31, 1961, in Chilton, the son of the late Donald and the late Janet (Breitrick) Schnell Keller. He graduated from Brillion High School in 1979 and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, completing his Master's studies in Dairy Genetics in 1985. On May 18, 1991, he married Kay Krueger at Zion United Methodist Church in Forest Junction.

Steve was employed by Genex Cooperative Inc. for 28 years. In 1999, he became Vice President, Dairy Cattle Genetics and became world renown for managing one of the largest dairy genetics programs in the world. During his career he left his footprint on dairy cattle breeding for Genex, for the United States leadership and around the globe. Dairy geneticists at most universities from around the world and his competitive peers recognize Steve as one of the giants in applying population genetics and then leading the innovation to genomic technology.

Steve was very athletic. During high school he participated in football and wrestling, including participating at state. He continued his passion as an adult by participating in men's softball, basketball, and volleyball.

In college Steve was a member of the Babcock House and later House Steward, and was known for his cattle judging including the Badger Dairy Club, placing in the top fifteen in three different national dairy judging competitions.

Steve had a heart for kids. His volunteer efforts included Shawano Hoops, SAY soccer, and he was a Wolf River 4-H Leader for 20 years. He was also involved with the Shawano County Rabbit Key Committee, Wisconsin 4-H Foundation Board of Directors and National Rex Rabbit Club, showing rabbits nationally for 12 years. He helped promote the Rural Health Initiative for Shawano County farmers at its inception. He supported his children and others at the county and state fairs, showing poultry, pigs, and rabbits. He especially enjoyed Shawano County Fair whether it was raising money for the pig barn or emceeing the small animal auction, rooster crowing, and chicken flying contest Monday mornings at the Shawano County Fair.

He was an active member of Hope Community Church where he especially enjoyed the men's bible study and the last few years nursing home visitation.

Steve is survived by his wife, Kay; children, Shaina Oakley-Shively (Jon Shively), Jacob, Rachel, and Michaela, three grandchildren, Sean, Kayleigh, and Seth Shively, all of Shawano; five siblings, Wendy McCulloch (Kurt), West Bend; Constance Westlake (Stephen) August, Ga.; Mark (Linda), Brillion; David (Susan), Brillion; and Daniel (Diane), Bonduel; his mother's husband, Lester Keller, Forest Junction; his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Barbara and Homer Krueger; brothers-in-law, Michael (Jessica) Krueger and Tim (Sara) Krueger, all of Brillion; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends.

Steve was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, uncles, and cousins.

Funeral services for Steven A. Schnell will be held on Saturday, April 6, at 11:30 a.m. at Hope Community Church, Shawano. Pastor John Anderson, officiating. Interment will take place in the spring at Forest Home Cemetery, Town of Brillion, Calumet County, Wisconsin. Relatives and friends may call at the church on Friday, April 5, from 3 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., and again on Saturday from 9 until the hour of service.

In lieu of flowers and plants, the family requests you consider a donation to a trust fund that will be established for Steve's children.

Schroeder-Mickelson Funeral Service of Shawano is assisting the family with the service arrangements. Online condolences at

"A special thank you to the Genex Board of Directors and Genex management who, out of respect for Steve and his many contributions to the co-op, kept his office available for him when he was no longer able to work on a regular basis. A special thank you, also, to Dr. Patel and the staff at the Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic, Heartland Hospice, and Cara and her staff at the Cottages Memory Care Facility."

Funeral Home

Schroeder Mickelson
336 South Sawyer Street Shawano, WI 54166

Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette on Apr. 3, 2013