Cover photo for Celena Schnebelen's Obituary
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Celena Schnebelen

March 12, 1937 — November 26, 2023

Little Rock

Celena Schnebelen

Celena Schnebelen, 86, of North Little Rock passed away peacefully on November 26 surrounded by her three loving children. Born on March 12, 1937, she was one of four children of the late Emile J. Thirion and Essie L. Thirion.

Celena was a graduate of Mount St. Mary Academy class of 1955, where she played team volleyball and basketball. She married her husband, Charles in 1961 and they were married for 61 years until his death in 2022.  Together they raised 3 children, Carla, Joe, and Ann, and she was an involved “Nanny” to her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Celena cherished her role as a “Mom”, coached her two daughters in volleyball and basketball and served as a troop leader for the Brownies. Eventually her caregiving nature and servant’s heart led her to pursue a career as a Registered Nurse. While juggling the schedules of three active children and a husband, she graduated from the Baptist School of Nursing as an RN in 1978. She secured a position at Memorial Hospital and served in several key positions in the Operating Room (OR) until her retirement in 1998.

As an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Celena could always be counted on to volunteer her time and treasure. She served on the Parish Council, Altar Society, PTO, the Catholic Daughters of America, and loved being a Eucharistic Minister. She was also active in RCIA (Right of Christian Initiation of Adults) where she could share her Catholic faith with new initiates to the church.

She and her late husband, Charles, who was also active in St. Mary’s, never missed an opportunity to Polka at the church dances and for many years they were involved in several square-dancing clubs.  Celena enjoyed playing all games especially cards and bingo, and loved nothing more than a “competitive” game night with family and friends.

After her retirement from Nursing, Celena did not slow down. She began a second career as a religion teacher at North Little Rock Catholic Academy. She volunteered her time there for 15 years as she was passionate about instilling the Catholic faith in the hearts and minds of young children.

Celena was proceeded in death by Charles, her husband of 61 years, her siblings; Mary Thirion, Robert (Montine)Thirion, Emile “Booster” (Edna) Thirion; and grandsons: Shaun O’Neal and Seth Spinks.

She is survived by her three children: Carla (Ron) Robertson, P. Joseph (William McClure) Schnebelen, and Ann (Paul) Creel; grandchildren: Leighann (Chuck) Bussell, Katy (David) Robertson, Ryan Robertson, Shamirra (Sam) O’Neal, Jordan (Corinna) Robertson, Daniel (Jordan) Creel, and Samual Creel; great-grandchildren: Parker, Abby Grace, Mary Kathryn, Spencer, William, and Evelyn; many extended family members and dear friends.

In the last year and a half of her beautiful life, she resided at The Manor (an assisted living facility) where she met many wonderful new friends.  The staff not only took great care of her, but they also kept her busy.  Celena continued her passion for cards, Mexican train dominos, and Bingo and was always up for a night out to a restaurant or show.  She even spoke for The Manor residents at the Arkansas State Capitol this year for National Seniors Day. A special thanks for the care she received from the UAMS Emergency Department, the SICU, and the Palliative Care team.

“So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love”

Visitation is from 5:30 to 7:00 PM, followed by a Rosary at 7:00 PM, Thursday, November 30, 2023, at Smith North Little Rock Funeral Home. 

Funeral Mass is 10:00 AM Friday, December 1, 2023, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Following the funeral, Celena will be laid to rest with her husband, Charles, and her grandson, Shaun, in the columbarium at Immaculate Heart of Mary Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to North Little Rock Catholic Academy at: www.NLRCA.org .

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Celena Schnebelen, please visit our flower store.
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Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, November 30, 2023

5:30 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Smith Family Funeral Home - North Little Rock

1921 Main St, North Little Rock, AR 72114

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Rosary

Thursday, November 30, 2023

7:00 - 7:30 pm (Central time)

Smith Family Funeral Home - North Little Rock

1921 Main St, North Little Rock, AR 72114

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass

Friday, December 1, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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