WILMINGTON — Catherine Stone Schnell, 96, died Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. She was born March 7, 1924, in Shallotte.
The oldest child, and only daughter, of the late John Stone and Daisy Lewis, she had four brothers. She was raised by her maternal grandparents who lived in Bolivia. She was a basketball star for Brunswick High, graduating in 1941. She was an excellent player and always bragged about how they beat New Hanover. After graduation, she continued as an assistant coach for several years.
During World War II she worked as a welder building liberty ships in Wilmington and saved enough to buy her first car, a Chrysler with a rumble seat. During this period, she lived with her aunt and uncle, Jessie and Isabelle Lewis, in Sunset Park. In 1946, she met her future husband, Raymond Schnell, at the Dixie Cafe, and soon after, they were married and remained so until Ray’s passing in 2003. Ray was a field representative for AFL-CIO and she traveled with him throughout the Southeast for several years.
Settling down on Harrison Street in Sunset Park, she and Ray had three children, two sons and a daughter. In 1963, Cathy and Ray built a home in Lincoln Forest and remained there for many years. Cathy was an avid bowler. She won many city and state tournaments and bowled the highest game recorded until that time in 1964 with a 264. She began working at the old Cardinal Lanes on Oleander Drive and later moved to the new bowling center on Shipyard. Cathy worked with her son, Ronnie, and his wife, Julie, running Cardinal Lanes until her retirement in 2005.
Cathy loved to gamble and made frequent trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Her luck on the slots was legendary. Cathy and Ray had a sound-side home in Surf City and many wonderful days were spent fishing and boating on Topsail Island. For all but the last few years, Cathy lived a relaxed life with Ronnie and Julie on Masonboro Sound, where she truly had a room with a view. She will be missed.
Cathy is survived by her sons, Dr. Raymond, and his wife, Elena Schnell, of Miami, Florida, and Ronald, and his wife, Julie Schnell, of Wilmington; daughter, Cathy Ann Schnell of Winnabow; granddaughter, Dr. Nicole Brinson, and her husband, Brandon, of Jacksonville; grandson, Zac Schnell of Surf City; brothers, John Stone of Scotts Hill and Billy, and his wife, Louise Stone, of Pensacola, Florida, sister-in-law Elizabeth Flaherty of Wooster, Massachusetts; great-granddaughter, Raegan Brinson; and great-grandson, Wesson Brinson of Jacksonville.
A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 25, at Oleander Memorial Gardens.
Share online condolences with the family at Coble Funeral and Cremation Service at Greenlawn Memorial Park.