The month of February brings siblings Shirley Beisel and Don Schnabel to the spotlight. Shirley was born on November 8, 1940 in Rural S.E., Colorado. Don was born on January 30, 1945. He was the first of his siblings to be born in a hospital in Lamar, Colorado. Their siblings include: Dale, Shirley, Henry, Don, Twila, Paul Jr. and Everett. Their parents Geula and Paul were married in 1936. Paul was a wheat farmer, and their mother was his helper. Geula died in 1953 from Cancer. Paul married a wonderful widow named Geri. They both adopted all of the siblings. She had a 3-year-old son Everett.
All of the siblings attended a one room schoolhouse; which was used for grades 1-8. Each grade took their turn at the recitation bench, were their teacher would give out lessons and instructions for the day. It was located in Plains, Colorado about 3 miles from the farm house where they lived. All of the sibling continued their education at Granada High School. Which was 30 miles north. They all rode the bus 60 miles round trip each day.
Shirley attended and graduated from Granada High School in 1958 as Valedictorian. Her graduating class had a total of 16 students. After graduation Shirley moved to Lamar, Colorado, and worked in various departments at the hospital. She studied general subjects for 2 years at Lamar Junior college. She then moved to Gunnison, Colorado and attended College at Western State. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Science.
After moving to Pueblo, Colorado, she became a student teacher. She helped teacher, Jim Roth with his 6th grade class. Then was employed by District 60 in Pueblo at Goodnight Elementary School. She taught 4th grade for 2 years, along with being the librarian.
Shirley married her husband Aaron on August 25, 1962 at her church in Lamar. Together they had 2 children: Dan who was born in 1965, and Geula in 1966. They were both born at Parkview Hospital in Pueblo. She has 3 grandchildren Joey, Dustin, and Michelle, and 4 great-grandchildren. Aaron worked for Sears. Shirley remembers him coming to the hospital for the birth of Geula, on a coffee break. He also served in the Navy reserve. Aaron passed away in 2017.
Don graduated in 1962 from Granada High School. Dons graduating class had a total of 13 students. This was before the consolidation of the school districts. The school was a one room school, which their father also attended. They referred to it now as “The little house on the prairie school.“ The floors were unfinished wood, and when they needed oiling, the staff would sprinkle a mixture of sawdust and oil, and students would have a “Skating” day with their shoes. The teacher was responsible for keeping the school clean and warm with a coal stove. The Schnabel children earned a small amount for bringing drinking water each day.
After moving to Kansas, Don attended Automotive school for 6 months. He worked at Dale’s body shop doing body work for 4 years. He joined the Navy and was medically discharged a year and a half later due to radiation damage. Don had uncontrollable shaking throughout his whole body, and also had thyroid problems. Remarkably, at a small hospital in Johnson, Kansas, Dr. Bill Walsh was able to cure him. Don moved to Tennessee and met a girl named Cassandra. They were married and lived in Tennessee for 35 years. After Cassandra passed away, Don moved back to Colorado. Don would go to various nursing homes in Colorado Springs, and Pueblo to sing karaoke with the residents. He and Shirley were also a part of the Traveling Troubadours, which is a senior choir. They have performed here at Villa Pueblo in the past.
Don moved in with Shirley and Aaron after suffering from a massive stroke that left him completely speech impaired for 3 years! He could not speak at all. He received speech and musical therapy. Don then moved into an apartment complex on his own. Both Shirley and Don moved to Villa Pueblo on March 26,2018. They both enjoy it here and mentioned a memorable day was 2 years ago when their family was able to get together in the Bistro, to celebrate Christmas amongst themselves. Don enjoys watching Football games and especially enjoys piecing together Puzzles with his friends. We are very proud to have both Shirley and Don as members of our Villa Pueblo family.