[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.