Louis J. Appell, Jr. – A Catalyst for Creative Change
We were saddened to learn of the passing of one of our most ardent supporters and greatest advocates for York, Louis J. Appell Jr. Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife, Jody, his children and all of his extended family. We will miss his passion, his vision, and determination to make his home a better place. Though many of the articles and posts about his life highlight his business and civic contributions, we wanted to take a moment to recognize Louis as a catalyst that made our creative community in York possible.
His passion for the arts was in his blood. In 1926, Louis Appell Jr.’s father, and his grandfather, Nathan Appell, purchased what is now known as the Capitol theater. At that time, it was known as The Jackson. They remodeled it before it reopened in 1927. Prior to that, the pair built the Strand Theatre, which opened its doors in 1925. The Strand-Capitol would continue to be a passion for Louis Appell, Jr., leading the renovation of both theaters into the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center and becoming its first Chairperson of the Board of Directors. Whether attending the Greater York Dance Nutcracker ballet, or a York Symphony performance, you could expect to see Louis and Jody sitting in a seat near you.
Louis was also passionate about preserving the past of the place he called home as well as planning for the future. He was instrumental in the creation of the Agricultural and Industrial Museum, and was part of a group of concerned citizens that helped facilitate the merger of that museum into what is now the York County History Center. In fact, Mr. Appell’s influence is present in every one of the York County History Center’s museums.
The arts were not just important to the health and vibrancy of his home town, they were essential in his business. As the CEO of Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff, a fifth-generation family-owned dishware business whose place settings were a staple of wedding registries for decades, Louis brought hundreds of talented creatives to York who helped make Pfaltzgraff a world-wide brand through their creativity and innovation. As the owner of one of the largest chains of radio stations in the United States, Louis also helped advance the musical talents and careers of many artists, including local York band Live.
His visionary spirit and deep love of our community made York what it is today. And though our hearts are heavy, his spirit shines bright in each of us who take up his challenge and “help move the ball to the goal line” of a thriving, creative York. Please contribute to one of his favorite arts partners, support local businesses with your patronage, and ensure that the memory of Louis Appell Jr. lives on in your actions. #OneYork #RememberMrAppell