Peter James Kappas of Baden passed peacefully after a courageous battle with COVID-19 on the morning of January 1st, 2021 at the age of 58.
Peter is survived by his wife Sherri Kappas (née Cossel), his sons James (Kenya Johns) and Stephen Kappas, his sisters Andrea (Tom) Topolewski of Economy and Diane Kappas (Pam Hammons) of Clarkston MI, his nieces Dr. Constance Topolewski of Danville PA, and Kimberly Topolewski (Bryan Thompson) of Memphis TN, his sister-in-law Linda (Bill) Ulery of Scottdale PA, his brother-in-law Mel (Judy) Stewart of Medina OH, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents James P. and Mary (née Tselepis) Kappas of Harmony Township, his parents-in-law James and Alberta Cossel of Connellsville and his niece Susan Stewart of Medina OH.
Peter was born at Sewickley Hospital to Mary and James and grew up in Harmony Township. He attended CCBC and Edinboro University studying Education and History. He married Sherri, a musician and fellow lover of history, in December 1992. He later welcomed his sons James and Stephen and told many that his greatest pride in life was raising his sons.
He started his teaching career in 1988 in DuBois, then moved to Beaver, eventually finding his home in Freedom, teaching 8th Grade American History for 28 years. Alongside teaching other courses in Finance and Civics, he oversaw Freedom Middle School’s Drama department, Track and Field team, and Yearbook Committee. He saw generations of students pass through his classroom, sparking a newfound joy in many.
Peter was a passionate and accomplished educator, both in and out of the classroom. In addition to his long career, he worked tirelessly with local organizations to preserve history. He was a pioneer of informal education, teaching the public at large about American history through living history reenactments and work with local non-profits. He was a long-time American Civil War reenactor, spending years with the 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment Company C. In recognition of his accomplishments and innovative teaching methods at Freedom Middle School, Peter was repeatedly honored and invited to teach at multiple national conferences for History, Finance, and Civics educators, including the Bill of Rights Institute. He was a member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Ambridge.
He loved to laugh and was well known for his sense of humor and an earnest and genuine love of stories both historical and fantastical. He loved hockey, and was an avid fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Wheeling Nailers. He was a lover of animals and over the years rescued and shared his home with his cats Bob, Bella, Goliath, Play-dough, Chester, and Goose, and his dogs Jesse and Rowan.
The family would like to thank Heritage Valley Sewickley’s doctors, nurses, and ancillary personnel for their care and dedication in a tough time.
Services and interment will be held privately for immediate family, officiated by Father Anastasios Athanasiou. Arrangements for a public memorial in the summer will be forthcoming.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Battlefield Trust at
The family requests that you honor Peter’s dedication to civics by actively participating in your local, state, and national elections.
Arrangements were entrusted to the John Syka Funeral Home, 833 Kennedy Drive, Ambridge, PA.
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