Women’s issues and protecting children from abuse were closest to her heart
The York community lost a brilliant, hard-working philanthropic force when beloved Powder Mill Foundation board member and friend Josephine “Jody” Appell passed away on January 21, 2024.
Jody Appell, wife of the late philanthropist Louis Appell, Jr., was deeply committed to the York community, spending much of her time making the city a better place for everyone living there.
Throughout her life, Mrs. Appell devoted her time and talents to improving York through numerous lenses – family, business, social service, education, economic and community development, faith and cultural. Countless individuals and organizations have benefited from her work.
“The Powder Mill Foundation, the Appell family’s private foundation, has been blessed with the commitment, attention and contributions Jody has brought since its inception,” said David Kennedy, chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees. “We are a wiser, stronger and better-aligned servant to our community thanks to Jody, and her legacy will shape our future for years to come.”
“To all these initiatives, she brought a keen intellect, a focus on accomplishments and outcomes, an openness to learn and experiment, and a contagious enthusiasm,” Kennedy added. Even at the age of 100, she was still attending and participating in virtual board meetings for The Powder Mill Foundation.
She always did the right thing based on her own individual analysis of the situation. In that way, she was a very focused leader in our community. She and Louis were not in this for recognition or ego. They were in it to do the right thing, always.
George W. Hodges, Powder Mill Foundation board member
“Jody Appell led a life of meaning and purpose, and as one of the most generous philanthropists of her generation, her passing will be felt deeply by the entire York community and beyond,” said Michael H. Hady, III, president and CEO of the Powder Mill Foundation, the York nonprofit established by her husband, Louis.
“A lover of the arts, culture and community, she was a dedicated board member and an active volunteer with many impactful organizations,” Hady added. “Jody’s legacy will be felt for generations to come because of her unwavering commitment to community investment and development. We are blessed to have had Mrs. Appell in our lives and our community. She will be truly missed.”
Mrs. Appell’s personal life was enriched with a seemingly endless parade of treasured family and friends. She was known to be kind, gentle and deeply thoughtful, and those traits were accompanied by a quick, original wit. George W. Hodges, a Powder Mill Foundation board member, knew her well. Mrs. Appell was his mother-in-law’s best friend and Louis was his father-in-law’s best friend.
“Jody was highly methodical in her decision-making and an intentional listener who absorbed critical points to ensure proper alignment in every effort,” Hodges said. “She always did the right thing based on her own individual analysis of the situation. In that way, she was a very focused leader in our community. She and Louis were not in this for recognition or ego. They were in it to do the right thing, always.”
Among her passions, women’s issues and protecting children from abuse were closest to her heart. When the York YWCA hit hard times and looked like it might close, Mrs. Appell stepped in to ensure it never lost its footing by serving as a past president of the organization. She was also a member of the Board of Lady Managers of the Children’s Home.
“I always admired Jody’s intelligence and leadership,” said Powder Mill Foundation board member Polly Stetler. “When she spoke, she was poignant and clear in her direction to do the most possible good. She earned unwavering respect in this community by doing the work.”
On a personal level, Stetler said what she remembers most is Mrs. Appell’s grace.
“She was always calm, always kind,” Stetler added. “I was so touched by how she and Louis were so devoted to each other. It was inspiring to be with them as they guided so many to be dedicated volunteers and servants to the mission of advancing the community. Jody was also very content with herself and was constantly supporting and complimenting other people. She was truly amazing.”