The Hon. Justice Karen E. Hewitt

February 6, 1963 - September 17, 2023
September 25, 2023 22 Condolences Print Obituary Send Flowers

The Honourable Justice Karen E. Hewitt passed away peacefully at the age of 60 years, after a courageous battle with a prolonged illness.

She is will always be lovingly remembered by her wife, Jacquelyn Hunt, her son, Cameron Hewitt-Hunt, her sister Terry-Dawn Hewitt, her brother-in-law Wayne J. McKenna, and her brother Duane Hewitt.

Karen led an exceptional life on both a professional and personal level. After articling with Wayne McKenna and being admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1990, Karen practiced in the civil sector with her mother, Adlynn Miskew Hewitt, Q.C., eventually helping to wind down this practice when Addie retired. Karen then decided to follow in the footsteps of her father, The Hon. Judge Norman G. Hewitt by joining the Alberta Ministry of Justice in 1992. Karen’s talents were well-suited to the practice of criminal law, and she had a distinguished career of over 25 years as a Crown Prosecutor. During her career, she handled complex prosecutions and major cases including large scale organized crimes, homicides, and sensitive cases.

Karen loved the challenge of learning about emerging areas of criminal law and sharing her knowledge with others. She was a popular lecturer, generously giving of her time and expertise with legal, law enforcement, and community groups across Alberta. She also lectured as far away as Winnipeg, Halifax, and Denver.

While juggling the demands of her prosecutorial duties and her family life, Karen decided to further her education. In 2011 Karen earned the degree of Master of Laws (Criminal Law), from Osgoode Hall, York University in Toronto. Following this accomplishment, Karen published numerous works on complex criminal law topics for Canadian legal societies.

Karen’s teaching skills were acknowledged when in 2012 she was appointed as a Sessional Lecturer for the University of Alberta (U of A), Faculty of Law. Three years later the Faculty of Law conferred on her the prestigious Pringle/Royal Sessional Teaching Excellence Award. Karen was later nominated by the Faculty of Law for the William Harvey Alexander Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

That Karen was a leader in in her profession was evidenced in several ways. She served on committees and boards too numerous to detail here. Karen was honored in 2010 with the Distinguished Alumni Award, Concordia College University of Alberta. In January of 2016, she was one of only 39 lawyers who received the title of Queen’s Counsel (“Q.C.”) in recognition of her exceptional contributions to the legal community. Later that year, Karen was honoured with the Alberta Women in Law Leadership Award, Leadership in the Profession (Government).

One of the high points in her career came in 2018 when Karen was elected by her peers to serve as a Bencher of the Law Society of Alberta. Later that year, Karen attained her most coveted position, when on September 20, 2018, she was sworn in as a Justice of the Alberta Court of Justice. She was passionate about her judicial role and was an outstanding justice. She was a highly valued member of Edmonton Criminal Division and played an important part in the creation of Edmonton's Indigenous Court.

Karen was also actively involved with her wife, Jacqui’s career as a physiotherapist. To this end, Karen served as a Sessional Lecturer for the U of A Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine and Legal Administration. She was also appointed by the Alberta Lieutenant Governor in Council as a Public Member of the College of Physical Therapists of Alberta.

Karen was a strong advocate for children with learning disabilities, both in her personal life and publicly. In this vein she was a member of the board of the Edmonton Public Schools Inclusive Education Parental Advisory Committee. Karen also served on the Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta.

Not only did Karen excel in her professional life, but she also led a most interesting private life. She was active in sports in her younger years, playing on the U of A junior Pandas volleyball team, and playing women’s club soccer. Karen loved the time she and Jacqui and Cameron spent at their farm in the Lamont, AB area, and at their second home in Ucluelet (Ukee), B.C. Karen was always busy. You would find her at the farm plowing the garden, pulling weeds, building decks, tiling floors, or designing a major artwork. At their home in Ukee, Karen would be crabbing, fishing, or hiking along the rain forest trails.

In closing, Karen will be truly missed. As the 17th century poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less . . .” A truer sentiment cannot be said for Karen. When she passed, those places she lived and the people she touched are so much less. We will miss you, Karen. Be at peace.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Canadian Amyloidosis Support Network (

The family expresses their heart-felt thanks to the healthcare teams at the Intensive Care Unit of the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Home Hemodialysis Unit, Edmonton, and the Satellite Dialysis Unit at Port Alberni, B.C.

A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, Sept. 28th 5:30-6:30 pm at the Zeidler Dome, Telus World of Science, 11211-142 Street NW, Edmonton, AB. Free onsite parking.

  1. Karen was my instructor for both Sentencing and Advanced Criminal Trial Advocacy while I was at U of A Law.
    She was a very attentive instructor who cared deeply about setting her students up for success. For me personally, this involved her offering to make a phone call or two when she’d heard where I’d applied for articling positions, sort of as a “bonus reference”.
    Once she was called to the bench, it was an absolute joy to appear before her as duty counsel, especially when she mentioned that she was really glad to see that I was doing that kind of work.
    She was a crusader for access to justice and a strong supporter of innovative legal education. She will be missed.

  2. Karen was a very special friend and she will hold a place in my heart, forever. She has been taken from us much too soon. While here on this mortal coil, Karen lived life to the full – she was an intense learner, teacher, advocate, jurist, athlete, friend, parent, partner and much more, as anyone who knew Karen will agree. I will always cherish my memories of long chats with Karen in the office and the many trips to conferences in the mountains – Karen always at the wheel, as she loved to drive. There was also no shortage of Sauvignon Blanc once we arrived. Karen loved to encourage and support her friends and colleagues. So generous of mind and spirit, Karen, no one will ever compare to you. I extend my sincerest condolences to Karen’s family, especially Jacquie and Cameron, the true loves of Karen’s life.

  3. On behalf of the members of the Canadian Bar Association, I extend heartfelt condolences to Karen’s family and friends. Karen was an active member of the Canadian Bar Association, and was always generous with her time to present to Section meetings and encourage young lawyers in the pursuit of the profession she loved. She will indeed be missed.
    Maureen Armitage Executive Director of the Canadian Bar Association Alberta Branch

  4. Jacqui and Cameron: Very sorry for your loss.
    We have lost a very valuable person in our society and a very good neighbour.

  5. I have known Karen since she was in law school and I was her next door neighbor, myself only having been called to the Bar in 1986. Karen was a friend, colleague, fellow Bencher – a woman of great humanity. When my oldest son (a child Karen knew well) ,died, I was a Bencher with Karen. I went to a Law Society meeting just after his funeral. Karen stood up, walked across the room with arms outstretched to comfort me. That was the Karen I knew, a kind, loving, beautiful and funny spirit. I will miss her very much.

  6. Very sorry to hear of Karen’s passing. I remember her well from the years she worked at the Wetaskiwin Crown Prosecutors’ Office and I had my legal practice in Leduc. We would often see each other at various courthouses throughout the JD of Wetaskiwin when she was a prosecutor, and also after her appointment to the Bench.
    I remember her as being tough but fair, and very honest and forthright in what she said. Extremely bright and hardworking. If you had a good argument and could back it up she was always willing to listen to what you had to say and seriously consider it.
    Definitely a loss for the legal profession and the Province of Alberta. My condolences to her family.

  7. I was deeply saddened to hear about Karen’s passing, and I wanted to extend my heartfelt condolences. Karen was truly a remarkable person, and her presence will be greatly missed.

    Karen had a unique way of brightening up lunch in Wetaskiwin and Camrose with her infectious energy and warm personality. Her sense of humor and engaging conversation made those moments together truly special. She had a remarkable ability to make everyone feel welcome and at ease, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie that made every lunch she attended a memorable occasion.

    One of Karen’s most admirable qualities was her willingness to listen. Whether it was offering a sympathetic ear or providing valuable advice. Her genuine interest in the thoughts and feelings of others left a lasting impact on people she met. She made people feel valued and heard, and that is a rare and precious gift.

    Karen’s fairness was another one of her standout qualities. She approached every situation with a sense of justice and equality, earning the respect and admiration of those around her. She was a role model not only for women but for everyone who had the privilege of knowing her. Her integrity and strong principles served as an inspiration to us all, and her legacy will continue to influence us for years to come.

    In this time of sorrow, may you find solace in the cherished memories you shared with Karen and in the knowledge that she touched so many lives in such a positive way. Karen’s memory will live on in the hearts of all who had the privilege of knowing her, and she will be remembered as the incredible person and role model she was.

  8. I did not know Karen, but from all that has been said about her,

    understand the vacuum her death has created.

    My sincere condolences to her loved ones and friends.

  9. When I was a student at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law, Karen Hewitt was my favourite instructor and became one of my most important mentors in the profession. The two classes I took from her were engaging and had major practical impacts on my knowledge of the practice of law. She treated her students as emerging colleagues. When I was struggling to line up an articling position during 3L, many people told me I would be fine. She was the only person who said that and actually made me feel better, because if there was anyone who would refuse to sugar coat a situation it would be Karen Hewitt. One other lasting impact, which I frequently quote to colleagues, is her statement on collegiality. “Defence, your clients are not your friends. Crowns, your officers are not your friends. We call each other “my friend” in court and it should be the same outside of court, too.” It is an important reminder to not get caught up in the adversarial nature of our jobs and keep respect and camaraderie within our profession. Gone too soon, but her legacy both inside and outside the profession remains.

  10. The Honourable Karen Hewitt carried on the impressive legacy left by her late mother. When I arrived in Alberta, A. Hewitt was held up by all as a model for female lawyers. Karen has done the same for her generation.
    Perhaps even more importantly, she was a generous person whose healthy outlook nurtured calm. She was the kind of person one felt honoured to befriend.
    Rest in peace.

  11. Justice Hewitt was a brilliant human being. I feel very grateful to have taken her Advanced Criminal Trial Advocacy class in law school, shortly before she was appointed to the bench. It was the hardest class of my law school career, and feared by many – even those who were passionate about criminal law did not sign up for the class thinking it would be a breeze. But it made me a better lawyer. Even though she had spent most of her career as a Crown Prosecutor (and I am steadfastly a defence lawyer) her knowledge of how to manage criminal trials still is invaluable to me in my practice and in my continued learning and growth.

    She truly understood the art of telling a story in the courtroom from the indictment to the closing argument, and she understood how to effectively share her knowledge with young minds. Her imprint on generations of lawyers (both Crown and Defence) cannot be understated. She is greatly missed.

  12. We had cordial battles when I was a young lawyer starting out and she was a prosecutor in Wetaskiwin. She was always tough, and firm but fair. Despite being on different sides of the aisle it was easy to see she had a kind heart. Many years later we met at the Edmonton Corn Maze for a children’s mental health event. I was pleased when she was appointed to the Bench and recently questioned why I hadn’t seen her in a while. I was saddened to learn of her passing. She would have done good work for many years to come. My warmest wishes to her family and close friends.

  13. She was, without a doubt, one of the most generous people I have known–on or off the bench. We spent a fair amount of time together over the last few years on a particularly difficult matter with a client who was difficult for everyone to deal with–myself included. Without diluting the seriousness of my client’s conduct, she gave an often abusive, habitually disruptive individual respect and space in Court for my client’s humanity. I would not have it I were in her shoes. She was a true mensch, and will be very very much missed.

  14. I send my sincere condolences during this time of sorrow. The Bible promises that your loved one will live again on a beautiful paradise earth when death will be no more. (John 5:28, 29; Revelation 21:4)

  15. My husband and I knew Judge Hewitt from law school and legal practice. She had the rare and precious pairing of tremendous intellect and generosity. Though 10x smarter than everyone in the room, she never made anyone feel that way. In her career as a prosecutor and a jurist, she did much to bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice. She gave us insights into law and advocacy that we will never forget. What a loss for our profession and our community. Our sincere condolences to her family.

  16. Oh, Karen. This is profoundly sad news. I will remember you always for your love of family and friends, rapier wit, and great golf swing. I will recall with fondness the last time we crossed paths and discussed our lives, parenthood and partnerhood as the Red Arrow sped us both homeward. Rest in peace, my friend.
    My most sincere expression of sympathy to your family.

  17. Jacque and Cameron so very sorry for your loss, I had the pleasure of working with Karen as a Judicial Clerk, she was a wonderful person and a great listener, my Heartfelt prayers go out to you and your families 💕💕 Rest In Peace Karen

  18. When I graduated from law school in 1998, I was one of 2 women entering criminal defence practice; a practice dominated by men. Karen’s was the first prosecutor who welcomed me as a newly minted lawyer. She provided so much encouragement and kindness. Over the years, if we ever crossed paths, she would always come and talk to me. I will never forget what she did for women in criminal practice and the kindness she always showed to me and others. Karen was a brilliant lawyer, judge, mentor, and shining light to all who knew her. My heartfelt condolences to her family and her friends. I hope when I leave this earth, I will see you again, where you will no doubt welcome me once more.

  19. Jacqui and Cam, I am so sorry for your loss. There are never words that can capture or ease your loss, which is profound. She was such a wonderful person. I had the pleasure of knowing Karen for her entire career and we talked all things doggie (rarely law!!). Running into you and Karen walking our dogs was great fun…especially for the pups!! She is waaay too soon gone.

  20. I am so saddened at hearing about Karen’s passing. She was a force and I so enjoyed and leaned so much working with her in my time with Ab Justice and Sol Gen. May she rest in peace and condolences to family and friends.

  21. I am so sorry to learn of Karen’s passing. I first met her when she was a prosecutor in Wetaskiwin and I was a probation officer. I learned so much from her in our discussions of various issues related to criminal law. Our paths crossed many times throughout our careers and I always enjoyed our conversations and musings about life. My sincere condolences to her family and friends.

  22. I knew Karen when she was just starting her studies lol I also recall
    when she and Marge took
    me golfing that was funny And party at Jennifers it was all good . then I needed a Lawyer she referred me to Patricia ehat a beautiful soul just like her Parents thought of u often my friend in the shadows

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