Karen joined the board of the Stone Trust in January 2022. Like many of us, she was introduced to the Stone Trust through a weekend walling course, in her case a one-day Women’s Intro workshop in 2020. Karen had retired earlier that year as Facilities Director for Trinity Church, built in 1877, located in Copley Square in Boston, Massachusetts. This stone church presented many challenges due to water infiltration issues from a variety of natural and city constructed sources. Ground water, major weather events with rain and wind, as well as city water systems all affected the stone foundation, stone walls, and other areas of the structure. Karen states: “My office was in the Undercroft. I was surrounded everyday by the actual granite footings of the church, which we called the ‘elephant feet’.” In addition to exposing Karen to many facets of stonework, her work at Trinity Church also provided her with many networking opportunities with diverse organizations throughout the Boston area.
Karen grew up in southeast Massachusetts near Rhode Island. Her family owned a textile mill that died along with many other New England fabric, leather, clothing and apparel mills as the entire industry migrated to the southern U.S. and then off-shore. In high school, Karen took a housing design class and found her future career. Her first work after graduating from college was working for a national commercial interior design firm in Boston. After this she moved on to Fidelity Investments and Lotus Development/IBM. Karen designed and managed national construction projects–through move-in–of dozens of new office spaces for both of these firms. Later she worked for five years for the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge Massachusetts where she designed and constructed new biomedical facilities.
Since retiring in 2020, Karen has been living in Saxton’s River, Vermont. She has interests and connections with many historic preservation organizations and through her volunteer work with NEHGS/American Ancestors has been immersing herself in early American history. The American Ancestors website offers online lectures and seminars for authors and educators who speak on a variety of subjects including early colonial life. Karen can picture a future segment on early stone wall building in New England. As a board member, Karen chairs the Historic Preservation Working Group of the Program Committee. This is an important area of expansion for the Stone Trust, as we seek to broaden public awareness of stone structures, as well as maintaining and rehabilitating structures through partnerships, networking, and fundraising.
The board is fortunate that Karen can join us and share her knowledge to help promote the Stone Trust’s mission: We preserve and advance the art and craft of dry stone walling. Past, present, and future.
Many thanks to fellow board member Paul Peterson for interviewing the first of the Stone Trust’s five new board members. Since joining the board himself in 2020, Paul has helped develop the kinds of enjoyable relationships that make working together a pleasure. Thank you, Paul!