Doctor delivers eight children of Catholic couple

Dave and Laura Schnier, Dr. Robert Donnelly, center, and the eight Schnier children the obstetrician delivered pose at Mercy Medical Center in Clinton Aug. 25, the day after Mallory Schnier was born. In front, from left, are children Madison, 4, Mary, 7, Payton, 9, and Miranda, 11. In back are Joseph, 17, Mallory, 3 weeks, Maggie, 15, and Quinton, 14. Not pictured are Dan, 20, Andy, 19, and Kevin, 18. The Schniers and Donnelly belong to Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton.

By Celine Klosterman

CLINTON — A Catholic husband and wife said they’re grateful for the kindness of the obstetrician who has delivered the youngest eight of their 11 children since 1993.

Dr. Robert Donnelly, a member of Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton, helped fellow parishioners Laura and Dave Schnier welcome their fifth daughter, Mallory, Aug. 24.

“It has always worked out that I have been on call when she delivered” in Clinton, said Donnelly, who works at Mercy Medical Center and has been an obstetrician and gynecologist since 1986. 

“I would’ve been very disappointed having somebody else,” Laura said. “He’s so kind and just a real family man.” He’s very smart, she added. “I had full confidence in him.”


Married in 1988, Laura gave birth to the Schniers’ first three children while Dave was serving as a Supply Corps officer for the U.S. Navy from 1985-93. Dan, 20, and Andy, 19, were born in Charleston, S.C., while Kevin, 18, was born in Park Ridge, Ill.

When the husband and wife returned to Clinton, Dave’s hometown, they turned to Donnelly before welcoming fourth child Joseph, now 17.  Now, Laura is a stay-at-home mom and Dave is Prince of Peace’s business manager.

“They’ve been a delightful couple to care for,” the obstetrician said. “I have never heard a single complaint from Laura, other than she’s tired!”

Donnelly said he knows no other doctor who has delivered as many children from the same parents. “I have not delivered more than five or six babies to any other couple. People just don’t have that many babies anymore.”

He said he’s chuckled to himself at seeing the Schniers of various ages and heights take up two pews at Mass. The family members “look like stair steps.”

“One good thing about being in our new church is that it has some bigger pews,” Dave said of the building Prince of Peace dedicated last year.

On a serious note, Donnelly said that before delivering babies such as the Schnier children, he asks God to bless his eyes, hands and judgment. “I know that in spite of my training and experience, he is the guy in charge, and I never forget that.”

Dave said Donnelly offers him and Laura “peace of mind,” and Laura said she’ll turn to the doctor if she becomes pregnant again. “We haven’t called it quits,” Dave said, “but we’re trying to slow down.”

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