Darcy Pennoyer Smith

One of many in the multi-generational Pennoyer family from New Canaan, Darcy Stiles Pennoyer grew up down the street from the Dinans, and she is an alum of Center School, Saxe and NCHS. Currently a New Canaan resident and now Darcy Pennoyer Smith, she is a freelance writer and blogger. She volunteers with various organizations such as the West School PTC, Junior League of Stamford-Norwalk, and New Canaan Cares. Her sons attend New Canaan Public Schools, and her husband Jud is a managing partner of Smith Hanley Associates LLC. The Smiths recently rescued two kittens, and the litter mates are settling quite nicely into their new home. Darcy attended Ohio Wesleyan University and studied French, English, and politics & government before working as a journalist's assistant at the United Nations, an assistant in a law firm, a marketing associate at a healthcare company, and an independent floral designer (she's done flowers for over 100 events). Her longest stint with an employer other than herself was with New Canaan High School, where she worked first as a chemistry lab aide to see if she liked working with teenagers all day (the answer was yes), an intern in the English and world language departments, and then as a certified English and French teacher. Darcy earned a Master of Science in education from the University of Bridgeport in 2000, and she resigned from NCHS in 2014 in order to have more flexibility to care for her family. She still likes working with teenagers, so she tutors students in reading, writing, and the college essay. Darcy loves New Canaan, and some of her favorite spots are the NC Nature Center, Waveny, Elm Street Books, Cherry Street East, and Gates. She enjoys all the Next Station to Heaven has to offer although the parking in town is a bit out of control, and she does like a stable post office.

Recent Articles

High Marks for New Turf Fields at NCHS, Despite Delay in Lighting

Despite a yet-unresolved delay that’s cut down on practice hours, those making use of the newly laid turf fields in their inaugural spring at New Canaan High School are giving high marks for a facility that’s more weather-resistant, flexible and consistent with those of area towns. Though the lights at the new Water Tower turf fields are not yet powered due to recent storms, athletes, coaches and officials from the nonprofit organizations that run youth sports here say the fields—part of a an estimated $5.8 million project that also includes the new track at NCHS, a public-private partnership between the town and New Canaan Athletic Foundation—already are paying dividends. “The new turf is great because there is more space to play when it rains,” fourth-grade lacrosse and soccer player Emma Barnard said. “That’s a good thing.”

The track and fields project has been “a long time coming,” Recreation Director Steve Benko said. “When we’re finished, we’ll have a spectacular facility. Continue Reading →

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Audrey Stewart: Matriarch of the Market

[This is the first installment in a four-part series “Matriarchs of Main & Elm,” profiling the women behind New Canaan’s great business families.]

Audrey Bailey Stewart had recently married Walter Stewart, Sr. when the young couple moved in with her husband’s parents—Walter Stewart, who had founded his eponymous food market on Main Street in 1907 and his rather formidable wife, Nellie, New Canaan’s first woman elected to the state legislature—at the Hoyt Street home that’s still in the family. A smart, strong-willed woman in her own right, Audrey didn’t always have an easy time living with the in-laws and “she didn’t always get along with Nellie,” family historian Karen Brockway Izzo said, recalling one funny story from her grandmother. “Once, Nellie told her that she didn’t like the color purple,” Izzo recalled. “Grandmother apparently had a bit of a rebellious streak, and after a disagreement, painted her entire apartment purple. Even the bathroom.”

After meeting her would-be husband through a chance encounter after taking in a movie at the (then relatively new) New Canaan Playhouse on Elm Street while still a teenager, Audrey Stewart would go on to immerse herself in one of the town’s most important and civic-minded business families. From humble beginnings and acquainted with tragedy even as a young girl, Audrey Stewart would go on to forge a definitive and direct positive impact on the family business during a crucial period of growth, while rearing and raising an entire generation of Stewarts well known to locals. Continue Reading →

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Love, Laughter and Lasagna: At the Table with Nancy Colella

[This is the final installment in a four-part series “Matriarchs of Main & Elm,” published in December 2015 and profiling the women behind New Canaan’s great business families.]

Annunziata Colella—known to locals by her Americanized name, “Nancy”—on Tuesday afternoon sat at her long family dinner table in the kitchen of this brick exterior ranch-style house on Main Street, the family’s home since she moved in with a young daughter and husband in 1974. She rested her hands atop a poinsettia tablecloth set with fresh yellow lilies, the doorway connecting to the living room beyond adorned with garlands draped around columns, potted poinsettias on side and coffee tables, tall candleholders in the form of angels placed on the floor, and large framed family photos on a fireplace mantle, beside Christmas cards and stockings. Complimented on her holiday décor, Nancy shook her head and said in the Neapolitan accent that she’s had since she arrived in the United States—and started learning English—in 1971: “Oh, thank you, but this is nothing. I’ve hardly done anything.”

On the contrary. Resilient, warm, intelligent and resourceful, Nancy Colella—wife of Giuseppe “Joe” Colella, founder of Joe’s Pizza—for nearly a half-century has conducted herself at home and at work with a sense of pride, responsibility and commitment that’s transformed a mom-and-pop pizza shop into a cherished New Canaan fixture. Continue Reading →

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Icon and Inspiration: Lydia Franco O’Neil, At the Store and Behind the Mousse Cake

[This is the third installment in a four-part series “Matriarchs of Main & Elm,” profiling the women behind New Canaan’s great business families.]

Thomas George Franco II—‘Tom,’ as he’s known today on Elm Street, site of the family’s eponymous wine and liquor shop, a fixture of downtown New Canaan for nearly a century—recalls the challenge he faced as a young man in 1975, trying to acclimate back to civilian life upon being discharged from the Army following a three-year tour during the Vietnam War. Fortunately for the newly made U.S. Army veteran, Tom was one of 11 Franco siblings—all students of St. Aloysius School and graduates of New Canaan Public Schools—who knew a remarkable woman named Lydia Franco O’Neil as ‘Aunt Lee.’

At the time, Aunt Lee had a condominium in Florida with her husband, longtime local U.S. Postal Service worker Bill O’Neil, and the plan was for Tom to drive her down to the Sunshine State so that she could have a car there, and he would fly back. “That was the perfect reintroduction back into civilian life,” Tom recalled on a recent evening. “We talked all the way down—about Uncle Bill, the family, what I was going to do now, and just things in general. Continue Reading →

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Faith, Family and Fierce on the Court: Rose Kelley Karl

[This is the second installment in a four-part series “Matriarchs of Main & Elm,” profiling the women behind New Canaan’s great business families.]

New Canaan’s Sara Schubert can remember walking through the woods as an 8-year-old girl to visit her grandmother, Rose Karl, at the Carter Street home that the family had built in 1926—the same year Rose’s own father, Henry Kelley, laid the cornerstone at the “new” New Canaan High School, now the police department. There, the woman whose leadership, wisdom and commitment to loved ones would make an indelible mark on an iconic New Canaan business and family, greeted young Sara with freshly baked cookies, milk and—characteristically—meaningful conversation. “I knew I wanted to be a school teacher, get married someday and have kids, and Grandma always told me that it should happen in that order,” Sara recalled on a recent afternoon. “She also told me to have a backup plan in case computers took over a teacher’s job, and this was back in the ‘70s. She was always so insightful, grounded and forward-thinking.”

One of 15 children born at the turn of the century to the prominent Kelley family of Carter Street, Rose would marry Leo Karl, Sr. at St. Continue Reading →

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