Regis Mourns the Passing of Mr. Jerry Kappes ’52
Mr. Jerry Kappes ’52 in 1982

It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of Mr. Jerry Kappes ’52, an alumnus and longtime English teacher who made wonderful contributions of wisdom and care to the Regis community even after leaving the faculty.

Mr. Kappes, who graduated from Manhattan College and earned a master’s degree from NYU, taught English at Regis from 1957 to 1982. During that time, he was instrumental in ending the use of what he called “tedious” anthology textbooks, allowing teachers to design their own courses and assign paperbacks. In 1972, Mr. Kappes co-founded the Theater in New York elective for seniors that is still offered today, and he was the moderator of Folio, the school’s literary magazine at the time.

Even after leaving Regis to edit textbooks, Mr. Kappes remained close to the school, attending alumni events, contributing updates on his class to Regis Magazine, and keeping in touch with former colleagues.

In recent years, he often returned to Regis to visit with Dr. Allison Tyndall, the English Department Chair who joined the faculty in 2018. The two struck up a friendship after meeting at a Christmas gathering in 2022, and Mr. Kappes would sit in on occasional classes to discuss works like The Great Gatsby or Waiting for Godot and attend outings to shows with Dr. Tyndall's Theater of New York class. (While teaching at Regis, he’d once staged a successful one-night-only performance of Godot “on kind of a dare” after his students said it would be impossible to put on.)

Mr. Jerry Kappes ’52’s yearbook portrait

In the most recent issue of Regis Magazine, Mr. Kappes and Dr. Tyndall spoke about theater, books, and the ways the school has and hasn’t changed since Mr. Kappes was on the faculty.

“In the classrooms I've visited, I sense the same eagerness to speak up and voice an opinion,” said Mr. Kappes during that conversaton. “It’s still very much there, and that's what you want in an English class. You don't want to be standing there lecturing.”

In advance of their chat for the magazine, Dr. Tyndall reflected on the bond they shared.

“I think it's safe to say we're in sympathy on a lot of impressions about what to teach and how to teach it,” said Dr. Tyndall. “I count it a singular privilege that I've been able to have a friendship with Jerry.”

Posted: 2/16/24