Wallace “Wally” Kappel made his first hole in one on the 17th hole of the Ben Avon Heights course of Shannopin Country Club in 1937. He was thirteen at the time and would go on to win and then successfully defend his title as Western Pennsylvania Golf Association Junior Champion in 1940 and 1941. Local sports writer, Eddie Beachler, covered the 1940 Junior Championship and described Kappel as a “bespectacled… rugged boy toting some 175 pounds, [who] employs an unorthodox swing. He seems to chop at the ball, but showed amazing accuracy and made few bad shots.” In winning back to back championships in the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association Junior Tournament, Kappel became an early member of what has evolved into an elite group of golfers, including Sam Parks, Jr. and Arnold Palmer.
Son of William Kappel of the Kappel Jewelry Stores, Wallace graduated from Shadyside Academy and entered Penn State in 1942. While at Penn State Kappel joined the Army and rose to the rank of Lieutenant. He was deployed overseas in February of 1945 and was killed in action in the Cebu Islands on April 11, 1945. He was 22 years old at the time of his death. Lt. Kappel was one of thousands of American servicemen whose remains did not return to the United States until well after the war and he was finally laid to rest on August 31, 1948.
The annual interclub golf competition between the Shannopin, South Hills and Saint Clair Country Clubs was renamed in honor of Lt. Kappel. His father, William, donated the trophy, which has been referred to ever since as “The Kappel Cup.” Lt. Kappel’s parents made another bequest in his honor, providing funds for his alma mater, Shady Side Academy, to build The Kappel Faculty House in 1948.