Remembering Sarah Kennedy

Sarah Kennedy — the jewelry designer whose creations, discerning eye, store and helpful personality were beloved by Westporters — died peacefully on Monday in Lakeland, Florida, after a long illness. She was 75.

She was a graduate of Staples High School (Class of 1959), and of Rhode Island School of Design. Her jewelry career spanned over 50 years in Westport, where she owned and operated Cellar Workshop.

Sarah Kennedy

Sarah was a creative and spirited artist who loved traveling, gardening and animals. Predeceased by husband Jack W. Kennedy, she is survived by her companion Mark Wilson; her brother Ian Goldy of Riverdale, New York; her  daughters Michele Mottola of Marblehead, Massachusetts and Sherry Schultz of Minneapolis, and 3 grandchildren.

No services are currently scheduled. Sarah will ultimately be laid to rest at Willowbrook Cemetery in Westport.

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In 2015 — as she was closing her Cellar Workshop — I posted this story on Sarah Kennedy:

In 2009, Sarah Kennedy moved her Cellar Workshop from downtown to Saugatuck.

The old spot — across from Christ & Holy Trinity Church — was easy to miss. Her new location — on Railroad Place, across from the train station — was warm and welcoming. It was the perfect location for the gem-maker to show off her unique, eclectic collection of rings, bracelets, pendants and pins.

It was a great move. She kept all her former customers, and added many more. They learned that Sarah is herself is a gem.

Sarah Kennedy wears one of her own handblown pieces.

Sarah Kennedy wears one of her own handblown pieces.

Now Sarah is moving again. This time, it’s a bit farther.

Tucson, Arizona.

She’s been in business here for 44 years — and in Westport far longer. Sarah is a 1960 Staples grad. Her father was the longtime owner of Compo Acres Pharmacy.

She knows Tucson almost as well as she knows Westport. Every year she attends the Gem and Mineral Show there, and stays with friends. Recently, she bought a house in the arts-minded city. “I think I know what I’m getting into,” she said.

For 5 years, Sarah has enjoyed being on Railroad Place.

For 5 years, Sarah enjoyed being on Railroad Place.

In 2009, “06880” visited Sarah. A customer raved that Sarah’s work was “exquisite, beautiful, a museum of fine jewels.”

The woman also described Sarah’s generosity — like polishing jewelry and rings without charging. As if on cue, in the middle of our conversation, the local FedEx guy walked in. His necklace had broken. Sarah said she’d solder it, while he made other deliveries.

Yesterday, the store was packed with Sarah’s fans. They too could not stop talking about her.

Steve Halstead said, “It’s such a pleasure to have a true professional and craftsman as part of this community, for so long.”

Sarah Kennedy (2nd from left) with assistant Eduardo Ewerton and admiring customers Rosemary and Steve Halstead, and Jim Stoner.

Sarah Kennedy (2nd from left) with assistant Eduardo Ewerton and admiring customers Rosemary and Steve Halstead, and Jim Stoner.

“I’m excited and sad” to be moving, Sarah said.

“We’re all sad,” Steve noted.

Sarah asked just one thing: That “06880” make sure readers know how much she’s loved being here.

“Please tell everyone thanks, and goodbye,” she said.

All good things must end. Fortunately, the lucky owners of Sarah’s creations will have them forever.

8 responses to “Remembering Sarah Kennedy

  1. Rozanne Gates

    Sarah made our wedding rings from my father’s gold Texas A&M class ring of 1933. She was the perfect person for this to happen and she made us feel like a million dollars. She will be always on hand for us.

  2. Rosemary Bentley Milligan

    This makes me sad – Sarah was in my graduating class at Staples. She was smart, fun and it was a joy to know her and see the success she had.

  3. Lesley Anderson

    Sarah was a dear friend. We went to Staples together and our daughters became best friends, what are the odds of that? She made beautiful jewelry and loved her life. I will miss her.

  4. Very sad to hear this news. I was lucky enough to know Sarah when she was in Westport and we surely shared a love of German shepherd dogs! One of my earliest clients was very fond of Sarah too, and commissioned many pieces of jewelry for me — all in payment for design work for his many book projects. Though at the time I think a more customary form of payment might have been appreciated, today, I am grateful for the relationship we had, and I treasure the beauty of her work — an enduring memory of an extraordinary person.

  5. She was a beautiful artist and a wonderful person. I missed her leaving Westport and am so sorry to hear of her passing.

  6. Mimi McLaughlin

    I loved Sarah and was so happy she was my business neighbor on Railroad Place. I was excited when she told me she was going to begin a new adventure a few years ago, even if it meant leaving this town she loved so much. She was the ultimate lady, one who saw the good in everyone, and always had just the right words for any given situation. I’m really sad to read this news. Rest in peace, dear Sarah. You will be missed by many. xoxo

  7. I’ll treasure all the more the ring that Sarah made for me. She herself was a jewel. mmmx

  8. Eduardo Ewerton

    I’ll never forget the wonderful time I’d spent working with Sarah Kennedy. It was many years working together. She was my “Senorita Sarah”..I’ll miss her..So quiet creating beautiful things, that some times made me cry for such artistic mind and creations….Thank You Dear Sarah for made so many people happy…Rest in Peace.

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