Leah Cappels

Obituary of Leah Cappels

Leah (Lee) Osterbach Cappels passed away from COVID-19 on December 3, 2020 at the age of 100.

Lee was born to Gertrude and Samuel Osterbach in Chicago, Illinois on March 11, 1920.  As a child she suffered from osteomyelitis, a condition that affected her for the rest of her life.

She graduated from Roosevelt High School in Chicago and became a highly-valued career executive secretary.  Lee’s telephone manner, people and organizational skills were unparalleled.

During World War II, Lee was selected to be a hostess at the Hollywood Canteen.  There she enjoyed serving coffee, conversation and dancing with members of the military.  She had many fond memories of that time.

Married to Jack Louis Cappels in 1949, Lee resided in Chicago and Hoffman Estates, Illinois; Oak Park, Michigan; Greenlawn, New York; Los Angeles and San Diego, California; and Golden Valley, Minnesota.  She loved to travel and explore new places

Throughout her life, Lee was a strong advocate for women and people with disabilities.  She served as secretary to several organizations, loved attending theater performances and playing bridge.

Lee is survived by:


Jill (Patrick) Reilly of Bloomington, MN

Bruce (Jaci) Cappels of New York City, NY



Elizabeth (Joseph) Brama of Hopkins, MN

Joseph (Anna) Reilly of Long Island City, NY

Heather (Fritz) von Mering of Winchester, MA



Isabella Brama and Madison, Fritzy, Lucy, Emma and Grace von Mering

Four nieces, one nephew and several great and great-great nieces and nephews

Many of her family recently attended her 100th birthday celebration from across the country in early March before any lockdowns.

Preceded in death by:

Mother, Gertrude Osterbach; Father, Samuel Osterbach;  Husband, Jack Louis Cappels; Sisters, Sylvia (Donald) Kay; Edith (Jack) Fisdel Katz; and brother, Philip(Peg) Osterbach, nephew, Steven Fisdel and great nephew, Ben Rief.


Lee requested a small virtual family gathering to celebrate her life.


The family wishes to express their deep gratitude to the frontline workers at Sunrise of Golden Valley and Brighton Hospice for the exceptional care they provided.


No flowers please.  At Lee’s advanced request, memorials preferred to:

Jill Reilly Fund for Professional Development

Academy of Holy Angels

6600 Nicollet Avenue South

Richfield MN 55423



For any questions, please contact: jfoley@academyofholyangels.org