John A. Schnell
John A. Schnell passed peacefully into the warm embrace of our heavenly Father on Feb 12th at his home in Sun City West, AZ while surrounded by his family.
Born January 23, 1933, John was the first of two (2) sons from John E. and Esther Schnell of Seattle, WA. He is preceded in death by his brother Jerry and son Thomas.
In his 88 years, John accomplished many things. He was born in Sioux City, IA and grew up in Seattle, attending St. Joseph's, Seattle Prep. He was honorably discharged from the US Navy Reserve in 1954. He was a member of the Catholic Seminary for six (6) years while attending Gonzaga University where he graduated in 1959 with majors in Economics, Philosophy and the Classics.
After college, he moved to San Francisco. He married in 1959 and raised a family that included four (4) sons. He joined the Bank of America and became the youngest VP in the history of the Trust Division. He continued his studies and became the President of the Trust Class at the Pacific Coast Banking School and then received his Master of Arts from Humboldt State College in 1969. He also received an Advanced Management Degree from Harvard in 1977.
In 1974 John moved his family to Portland, OR to start a career with Consolidated Freightways (Freightliner Corp) where he worked 17 years until his retirement. He was President of Freightliner Credit Corporation and in 1980 he became the President and CEO of Freightliner of Canada and then Treasurer of Freightliner until 1991.
During his life and long retirement, John was able to travel the world in pursuit of his hobbies that included site seeing, skiing, biking, hiking and motorcycle riding. He enjoyed his family and friends and will be deeply missed by those who knew and loved him. John had a passion for life and gave much of his time and wealth to support many charities including the Jesuit Society, St Judes Children's Hospital, St. Mary's Food Bank and the First Baptist Church of Sun City West where he was baptized and became a member in 2016. He enjoyed bible study and networking with his church family but none more than his loving wife Elizabeth (Liz) O'Grady. John and Liz fell in love late in life but their love for each other is inspirational to all who knew them. Liz was devoted to his care and companionship. Often, they would gather with friends and would delight in his humor and genuine positive attitude.
His spiritual beliefs gave him a great sense of calm and charm that we all aspire to. His spirit provided purpose and will during the dark times of his life including the past few months while his body faded. He died in peace and comfort knowing what awaits him and knowing how much he helped others and how much we all loved him.
John is survived by his wife Liz, three (3) sons Daniel, Michael & Gary, his four (4) grandchildren Chelsea, Kevin, Kiana and Ariana and one (1) great-grandson Miles.
A Celebration of Life Ceremony is planned at First Baptist Church, Sun City West, Arizona, 17419 N. Conquistador Dr., Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 11:00am. In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made in John's name to a charity of your choice