Obituary of Christel Schnare
S.CHRISTEL SCHNARE (SPANG)
Christel Schnare (S.Christel Spang) of Coxsackie passed away peacefully on Wednesday
January 10, 2024. Chris, as known by family and friends, enjoyed 87 years of life. She was
born January 12, 1936 in Brooklyn NY, daughter to the late William E. Spang and Mathilde
Spang (Grajewsky). In 1937, at one year old, Christel, accompanied by her 9-year-old sister the
late Ingeborg (Inge) VanGaasbeck (Spang) sailed to Solingen Germany to reside with her
grandmother (Oma). Inge was so homesick she returned to the U.S. after one year, but Christel
remained for ten years due to brutal conflicts during Nazi wartime. Embraced by the love of her
sweet grandmother and their German family culture, Germany was forever etched on Christel’s
heart. In 1947 alone at 11 years old Christel braved the long journey by boat returning to the
United States to reside with parents and a sister she did not even know. It was here in this
family apartment building that she found a close friend in the landlord’s daughter, Bertine (Tina)
Kotek (Stiller), the two became inseparable sharing a treasured friendship lasting 77 years.
Christel married her late husband Alfred Schnare, Jr in 1957 and they settled down to raise a
family in Coxsackie. Chris was devoted to their two beautiful children, daughter the late Cindy
Anne Speanburg (Schnare) and son Dale Alfred Schnare. They watched their Schnare family
continue to grow with the birth of granddaughter Lauren DeSantis (Speanburg), and lovingly
welcomed Cindy’s long-time companion the late Stephen (Steve) Kohler and Dale’s wife,
Brenda Schnare (Wase) to the family.
Over the years Chris worked various jobs which included the Earlton Store, Greenville Bryants
and was also employed at IBM. In 1974 Christel was elected as the Town Clerk of Coxsackie, a
position she proudly served with dedication and loyalty for 32 years. She was also a member of
the Riverside Cemetery committee for many years and always strived to do her utmost best on
behalf of all those calling Coxsackie their home.
Christel was genuinely such a caring, diligent, and devoted woman in every aspect of her life.
A proud American through and through, who also deeply embraced her German heritage. She
spoke fluent German and enjoyed long conversations with her cousin, Brigitte Rampe, and
lunches with all her German “girls”. She had an insatiable passion for the art of cooking, baking
and entertaining; every fine detail meticulously replicated to create that superb dish.
And much to her family and friends delight she was phenomenal at mastering the most
delectable desserts and outstanding dishes. Chris was also quite a shopper with an eye for
bargains, she loved dining out, the company of friends and family, reading and quiet moments
cuddling with her labs.
Christel always went out of her way to make everything so special for others, ready to lend a
helping hand, offer words of encouragement and just brighten someone’s day. We share so
many special memories of good times at family picnics, swimming at Lake Taghkanic, campfires
up at Piseco Lake, birthdays, holidays, and BBQs. Chris also had an adventurous side, not too
much frightened her and her bravery really shown through one hot summer day when she
announced to all “I’m going to ride on Dale’s jet ski” (shocking, as she never learned to swim).
Ever so tightly she buckled up her life vest, took a deep breath and hopped right on behind Dale
for a jet ski ride around the Great Sacandaga Lake with her son! Look at Chris go!
Christel was blessed with a great number of close friends and family: Ed Kotek & Bertine (Tina)
Kotek (Stiller), Lorie & Rebecca Hackim, Brigitte Rampe & family, Albert & Irmgard Spang &
family, the late Eugene (Gene) VanGaasbeck and late sister Ingeborg (Inge) (Spang) & family,
the late Eugene (Gene) Schnare and Grace (Miller) & family, Kay Maher, Corky Eldred & Helen
Schnur, Lynette Dalland & family, Helen Lampman, the late Phyllis Beechert, Sharon Collins,
Johanna Gill, Pete and Gilda Pascuzzi, Roger and Bessie Vincent & family, Jeremy Wase, the
Kohler family, nieces, nephews and a lifetime of caring people who meant the world to her.
This beautiful hand-written note reflects how Christel truly lived her life:
“We come with nothing; we leave with nothing. But one great thing we can achieve in our
beautiful life is a little remembrance in someone’s mind and a small place in someone’s heart.”
To all who touched Christel’s life, she thanks you for your friendship, laughter and above all,
S. Christel Schnare (Spang) will lovingly be remembered as the beautiful woman she was and
remain cherished in our hearts forever.
Calling hours will be Saturday January 20th from 11 am until 1 pm at A.J. Cunningham Funeral Home, 4898 State Route 81 Greenville.
A memorial service will take place at 1 pm, followed by burial of her ashes in the family plot of Riverside cemetery, Coxsackie.
Condolences may be posted at ajcunninghamfh.com.
In Lieu of flowers, donations to the Coxsackie Area Food Pantry are sincerely appreciated on
behalf of Christel Schnare. Checks payable to the Community Food Pantry can be mailed to
961 Route 54, Hannacroix, NY 12087 or dropped off at the pantry, Call 518-731-8603.
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