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April 20, 1946 – December 26, 2019

It is with a heavy heart that we tell you that Arnie Schnellert, of Winnipeg, passed away peacefully early on Thursday morning, December 26, 2019 in the Riverview Health Centre, with Hilla at his side, at the age of 73; health problems no more.  


Arnie is survived by his wife Hilla; brother-in-law Art Borkowsky of Steinbach; sister-in-law Wendie Schnellert of Leduc, Alberta; and several nieces and nephews.  He was predeceased by his parents and all his siblings Ida, Anne, Fred, Lena and Harold.


Arnie was born on April 20, 1946 in Steinbach, Manitoba. He was the sixth and last child of Rudolf and Olga Schnellert.  He attended a one-room elementary school in Sarto until it was time to go to the collegiate in Steinbach – a big change from a one room school with 40 students in 8 grades and a single teacher and then to the Big School with a student body of over 300 broken down into 4 grades each with several classrooms and each with numerous teachers.  He graduated in 1963 at the age of 17.


After failed attempts by his father to convince Arnie to stay on the farm, he would take jaunts into the city to go job hunting and successfully got a job in November 1963 at Manitoba Hydro which became his life’s work spanning over 37 years.   A story he likes to tell is how on his first day at Hydro, the Personnel director was taking him to meet his first supervisor when she looked at his application and saw that he had put down both of his full given names (William Arnold) and asked what he wished to be called.  After only a moment’s hesitation, he said ‘Arnie’ .... he had been known as William or Willie throughout his school years ... and so Arnie it was!


Arnie enjoyed many sports and activities, playing and watching ... bowling, baseball, hockey, bridge, and at the very top of the list, his golf.  He was a member of Breezy Bend for many years and also enjoyed many years of golfing as a Winter Texan. Arnie and Hilla enjoyed travel with several trips to Europe and many tropical winter vacations.  Arnie retired in 2001 and after waiting for Hilla to retire a couple of years later, they became Winter Texans, first pulling a fifth-wheel trailer and then buying a permanent trailer in the Southern Comfort Resort Park in Weslaco Texas. They had many new experiences and made numerous new friends on both sides of the border.


Arnie’s health problems started in 1993 when he mistook a heart attack for bad heartburn.  A triple bypass seemed to have ‘fixed’ the problem for about 10 years.  The next years brought along three pacemakers and a few hospitalizations, the last of them in January 2018 while in Texas, which resulted in being flown home for further investigation.  The following two years consisted of many appointments and tests with doctors.  Unfortunately, his heart failure took its toll and he entered the Home Palliative Program in early November, 2019 and quickly had to be admitted into Riverview Health Centre for the remainder of his time with us. 


There are no words to express my thanks to all the people of Palliative Care 3E  - doctors, nurses, health care aides and support staff  -  who cared for Arnie in the last five weeks that he was at Riverview Health Centre.  The compassion and respect shown to Arnie and Hilla throughout their time there helped tremendously. Thanks also from Hilla to those who supported her while she was with Arnie at Riverview with visits, messages of support, food left at the apartment door and even delivered to Riverview.  Special thanks to the friends and neighbors from their latest residence at The Enclave on St. Mary’s Road. 


In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Oak Table, 109 Pulford, Winnipeg, MB, R3L 1X8 - CLICK HERE to donate online.   or to Riverview Health Centre, 1 Morley Avenue, Winnipeg MB R3L 2P4 - CLICK HERE to donate online.  Each of these websites offer a spot where one can specify an ‘In memory’ donation.  If donating to Riverview Health Centre, please select Palliative Care Unit 3E.


Cremation has taken place and a memorial service for Arnie will be held on Monday, April 20, 2020, when our Snowbird friends return.  There will be a further announcement on this page and in the Winnipeg Free Press closer to the date of service.

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