Graveside Services: Saturday, St. Patrick's Cemetery, Dickinson, ND
Graveside services for Jerry Schnell, 73, of Vienna, VA, formerly of Dickinson, ND will be 11:00 a.m., Saturday, July14, 2012 at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Dickinson with Deacon Ron Keller presiding. Jerry passed away January 5, 2012 in Vienna, Virginia. Jerry was born December 17, 1938, in Dickinson, North Dakota, the son of Ray Schnell and Clara Kittelson. He was 12th in a family of 13. He attended grade school and high school in Dickinson and went on to attend North Dakota State University, receiving a B.S. degree in Agriculture. He was a member of ATO fraternity. After college, Jerry served in the Army, his most significant posting was a helicopter pilot in Korea. When he left the military, after an extensive trip around the world, he returned to Dickinson to join the family livestock auction business as an auctioneer. In 1967, his love of flying let him to become a pilot with Pan American World Airways and so he was able to continue his world travels, and extended his benefits to make it possible for his family to travel, also. While working for Pan Am, Jerry lived in New York City, Hawaii, and Marblehead MA, where he enjoyed sailing. Remaining single for several years, Jerry was able to devote much time between flight assignments to spending time with his large family. Throughout his life, he took numerous trips to different places in Europe to obtain information on his family background, both his Germans from Russia heritage (father) and his Norwegian ancestry (mother). He combines this research with his love of photography to document the people and places of his ancestry. In 1978, he was living in California while on furlough from Pan American and met his future wife, Carla. They were married in 1984 and moved to Vienna, Virginia, to be closer to his base in New York City. In 1991, Pan American was bankrupt and Jerry then worked for Delta Airlines until 1996. While living in Virginia, Jerry embarked on a very ambitious project to identify all the descendants of his paternal grandparents, Franz and Marianna (Engle) Schnell, and his maternal great-grandparents, Hans Kittleson (aka Bustel) and Bertha Steinbeck. He identified over 2000 descendants. Jerry is survived by his wife, Carla; stepsons Randy (Linda) and Eric West; grandson Kai; two sisters Oral (Walter) Shjeflo of Detroit MI and Shirlene Winn of Georgetown, TX; five brothers, Raymond (Geneva) of Bismarck, Willard (Linda) of Dickinson, Robert of Rapid City, SD, Wayne (Maureen) of Boulder, CO and Gordan (Sandra) of Dickinson, ND; and 44 nephews and nieces. Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, five siblings, and four nephews and nieces.