Cover photo for Joseph Robert Scannell's Obituary
Joseph Robert Scannell Profile Photo

Joseph Robert Scannell

July 5, 1926 — February 17, 2024


Joseph Robert Scannell

SUMMERVILLE, SC - Joseph Robert (Bob) Scannell, 97, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and WWII Army Air Corps veteran, passed away on February 17, 2024. 

Bob was born in Detroit, Michigan, on July 5, 1926 to Thomas and Cecilia (Arcon) Scannell. He attended Henry Ford Trade School and Michigan State University. He was a patternmaker by trade; a skilled trade which has been sadly replaced by computers. He loved working with wood. In his retirement he made 18 beautiful guitars, 8 fabulous violins, and one exquisite cello, always experimenting with different woods and finishes. He would tell you he "loved a good challenge".

In the summer of 1948, while playing trumpet for the Sammy Fletcher Band in Grand Haven, Michigan, he fell madly in love with the vocalist - at first sight - from the back! She "glowed" he would say. God had sent him a wonderful woman and he knew it. Nola Schafer became his beautiful bride that December. They were married 72 years and their love story is truly rare and wonderful. Bob would talk about his Nola to anyone, and everyone, within earshot. And everyone who heard their story knew their love was very special indeed. 

When Bob, as a young teen, heard Harry James play trumpet on the radio, he decided then and there that he wanted to do THAT! His brother, Charlie, bought him a trumpet at the age of 13 and Bob never looked back. He played trumpet and flugelhorn in many local bands including The Ambassadors led by Al Townsend, as well as the American Legion Band known as "The Legioneers" which performed in Bishop Park in Wyandotte, Michigan, where Bob-Lo passengers would embark and disembark. He also played in several musicals with the Wyandotte Community Theater including The Music Man, Gypsy, and The Most Happy Fella'. On one occasion, he arrived late after intermission and the spotlight operator mistook him for the conductor. The light shone brightly upon his embarrassed soul, but with great panache, and in true Bob fashion, he made a grand bow and then took his place alongside the other band members in the pit. 

Bob was the quintessential 'fixer of all things broken', be it an engine, furniture, toys or a measly toaster! An exasperated Nola would sometimes watch and listen patiently as Bob, with his trusty ohmmeter at the ready, declared, "Nola, this SHOULD work! I'm getting continuity!" If it was broken, we took it to Grandpa. Including the occasional broken heart.

His biggest love, aside from Nola, was golfing. He'd go on trips with his buddies to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and golf 36 holes a day! It is there where he concocted his favorite night cap - the Gatlinburg Express - one part Jack Daniel's, one part blackberry brandy. Yum!

At 96, Bob was greatly blessed to live with his granddaughter, Rachel, and her family. He made sure there was joy and laughter throughout the house. He told stories and jokes and sang silly songs like 'Johnny Verbeck' and 'Cigarettes and Whiskey'. If one stepped out of line, however, he would threaten to "get the whip"! And they'd all laugh and roll their eyes knowing how idle this threat truly was.

He and Nola were quick to laugh and sing. 'Their' song was "I've Got A Crush On You". A recording of Nola singing and Bob playing flugelhorn can be heard on YouTube by searching "I've Got A Crush On You Nola Scannell". The arrangement was written by son, Jeff. 

Bob loved to tell the story about a conversation/debate he and Nola had regarding 'what makes people smart'. With great anticipation of garnering the winning point he said, "You know, Nola, if you were really smart, you'd make ME think that I was the smart one." Without skipping a beat and with a twinkle in her eye, she replied, "I do, Bob. You're just too stupid to see it!" And they laughed and laughed... and then they laughed some more. It was only a few weeks ago that he shared, "...and don't forget - we hugged and hugged".

He was preceded in death by his wife of 72 years, Nola Schafer Scannell. He is survived by his five children: Jami (Douglas) Bond, Mattawan, MI; Jeffrey (Regina) Scannell, Goose Creek, SC; Joel Scannell, (Nele Sijben) Netherlands; Tamara (David) Rockey, Goose Creek, SC; and Barbara (John) Buelk Jr., Hanahan, SC; sister-in-law Gretchen King, Marshall, MI; Tchiyo Bluming; Netherlands; 17 grandchildren: Amanda (Brian) Schupbach, Kalamazoo, MI; Timothy Bond, Sugar Hill, GA; Andrew (Kendra) Bond, Brighton, MI; Olivia (Scott) Schutze, Sawyer, MI; Cyeda Bingham, Madison, WI; Russell Lott, Summerville, SC; Raheem Lott, Madison, WI; Shannon Lott, Madison, WI; Patrick Scannell, Curacao; Jason Scannell, Netherlands; Javed Scannell, Netherlands; Michiko Scannell, Netherlands; Kumiko (Jeffrey) van den Berg, Netherlands; Allison Rockey (Paolo Cozzi) Washington, DC; Rachel (Ryan) Kaufman, Summerville, SC; John (Cinnamon) Buelk III, Charleston, SC; Sam (Julie) Buelk, North Charleston,SC; 30 great grandchildren: Lucas Schupbach, Aydin (Gracie) Schupbach, Abigail Schupbach, Avia Nola Bond, Judah Bond, Rhodes Bond, Isla Wren Bond, Clayton Bond, Carter Bond, Evelyn Bond, Felix Schutze, Jasper Schutze, Zyier Bingham, Alexandria Lott, Raheem Lott, Jr., Kylie Lott, Darrius Lott, Azaiah Lott, Nazir Lott, Logan van den Berg, Alexis Edgar, Isabella Kaufman, Vincenzo Kaufman, Giovanni Kaufman, Kennedy Kaufman, Max Buelk, Amara Buelk, Juniper Buelk, Luna Buelk, Hazel Buelk. Bob is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service for family members will be held on Sunday, March 3, 2024, at the home of Dave and Tammi Rockey. If you would like to attend the zoom meeting, kindly e-mail

Bob and Nola's ashes will be interred at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Lansing, Michigan, on Tuesday, March 12, 2024 at 1:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Charleston Woodworking School, 2338 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414.

Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at

 Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Palmetto Cremation Society, 5638 N Rhett Ave, Charleston, SC 29406, 843.722.2555.


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