JUREK, Karen Eleanor (nee SMITH)

February 16, 1945 – January 1, 2023

With sadness and much love, we announce the passing of Karen Jurek on Sunday January 1st, 2023 at the Dulcina Hospice in Calgary. Karen’s journey with cancer began in 2014, and with Alzheimer’s in 2019. In early December 2022, the burden of cancer in her body became too heavy, requiring hospitalization and then transfer to hospice care.

Karen will be deeply missed by her devoted husband Charles, married 55 years, her loving daughters Carolyn and Marla; siblings Marlene, Harley and Dennis; grandchildren Cooper, Fiona and Manus; ‘outlaws’ Vern, Lois, Don, and Jeff; her nieces and nephew; and all her friends.

Karen was born in Peterborough, ON and raised in Calgary, AB. She attended nursing college in Edmonton, where she met Charlie at a military ball in 1965.

Charlie and Karen moved every few years on military postings to various parts of Canada, also to Germany and the USA. Karen’s varied nursing career was shaped by the many locations she lived as an army wife, including a British Military Hospital, many private practices, and the Canadian Red Cross.

Karen and Charlie travelled Europe extensively during postings in Germany, including many camping trips with their young daughters. More recently they enjoyed travelling all over the world via cruise ships.

When they retired in 1987, Karen and Charlie built their own dream home from the ground up in Manotick, ON (near Ottawa). Karen learned new carpentry, plumbing and electrical skills – highly praised by building inspectors – and she greatly enjoyed the year they spent on this amazing project where they lived for the next 11 years.

Karen found her greatest joys in crafting and quilting. After moving to Cochrane, AB in 1998 her love of quilting grew to become a wonderful and consuming hobby. She was a championship quilter, and some of her award-winning quilts have travelled for display across Canada, the US, and even Japan. Karen also became a certified quilt judge, and she spent many years on the judging panel of the annual quilting competition at the famous Calgary Stampede and also CQA events.

On arrival at the Dulcina Hospice a few weeks ago, Karen was thrilled to see dozens of quilts hanging on the walls everywhere and you can imagine the excitement when she and her family discovered that several of the quilts were HERS (donated by Karen to the hospice many years ago).

A private memorial service was held January 6th to celebrate Karen, and her family will honour her this spring and summer by scattering her ashes in the gardens of her daughters in Alberta and Ontario. A photo collection of favourite memories is available online: http://bit.ly/3Xnmw73

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society. 

Cochrane Country Funeral Home – cochrane@piersons.ca

Arrangements entrusted to Emily Champ, Funeral Director

  1. On January 3, 2023 at 1:53 pm Margaret Jessop Said:

    I will miss Karen so much. She was a fabulous quiter, mentor and friend. What a great loss! Sending prayers to Charlie and the girls.

  2. On January 3, 2023 at 4:32 pm Trudy Cowan Said:

    Karen was a kind and caring friend, a creative and talented quilter. She gave memorable support to many of us as we worked along our quilting journeys. I’ll miss her smile, her enthusiasm and her willingness to share her knowledge and her skills. My condolences to Charlie and their whole family.

  3. On January 3, 2023 at 5:03 pm Dena Sykes Said:

    Karen was always a great addition to my Aquasize program; positive, committed and the social anchor for most of our gatherings. I am blessed to have had the pleasure of knowing her and enjoying her friendship, talent and energy! She created a beautiful quilt with bathing suits that were no longer “wearable” from our crazy group and wrote the many “Dena isms” around the edges! Humour, creativity and a one in a million gift that I will cherish and hold dear with the memories it represents.

    My heart goes out to Charles and the family.
    With fondness,
    Dena Sykes

  4. On January 3, 2023 at 5:45 pm Judy Edge Said:

    Karen was a valued member of our Aquasize group, first at the old pool and then at Spray Lakes. We all looked forward to coffee after class and Karen always had interesting stories to share. She was a master quilter and kept us up to date on her latest endeavour. She came to my house one afternoon to give me suggestions on the shadow boxes I had put some of my mom’s jewelry in. We enjoyed the day that Karen came with her new ‘funky’ glasses. I admired her courage as she struggled with her medical issues. Our Aquasize group will always remember Karen as we know where her place was in the pool.
    Love and best wishes as your lives more forward.

  5. On January 3, 2023 at 8:58 pm Marilyn Samuels Said:

    I knew about and loved Karen’s quilts before I met Karen. When I did get to know her through Quilted Mouse guild and Fibre Arts Explorers, I admired her and felt blessed to become a friend. She was a very special person who wads a positive presence in any group and always had a kind word. I will miss her. My condolences to Charlie, her daughters and her grandchildren. She left you all far too soon but hopefully your happy memories will be of some comfort.

  6. On January 4, 2023 at 12:39 am Jennie Kerr Said:

    I have so many lovely memories of Karen from aquasice and quilting. She was an amazing, forthright, talented lady and it was a privilege to have known her . Steve and I pass on our sincere condolences to Charlie and the family xxx

  7. On January 4, 2023 at 12:13 pm Marcia Gilbertson Said:

    My condolences to your family. Karen was such an inspiration to me in quilting. She had an amazing eye for colour and made all of her work very unique to her style. She always loved a challenge and enjoyed imparting her knowledge on all of us at Big Hill Quilters. Her positive and cheerful disposition is a very endearing trait. She will be missed.

  8. On January 4, 2023 at 12:21 pm Lori Slack Said:

    We have had one taken from us far too soon. Karen always had a great idea for any project I was working on, always encouraging words and inspiration and always a smile. I remember when she was Quilter of Distinction at Heritage Park before I knew her and I was in awe of her talent. Speaking with Charlie that day, his pride in Karen and her accomplishments was very evident.
    She will be missed by many.
    My heartfelt condolences to Charlie and all the family. May your memories keep her close in your hearts.

  9. On January 4, 2023 at 12:47 pm Rose Janke Said:

    My sincere condolences Charlie to you and your family. Karen was such a fun person to be with and I enjoyed rooming with her on retreats. Her quilting skills were second to none and she was always eager to help when asked. We all learned so much from her and she will always be in our memories. She will be missed.

  10. On January 4, 2023 at 4:58 pm Carol Tedd Said:

    My sincere condolences to Charlie and the rest of her family. Karen was my mentor in quilting and I learned so much since first meeting her at Cochrane Quilters. My husband and I will miss seeing her with Charlie and the dog at the Sunset Ridge pond. RIP Karen

  11. On January 4, 2023 at 6:44 pm Pat Crutchfield Said:

    My sincere condolences to Charlie and Karen’s family. She was truly inspirational to our quilting guild and the quilting world. Karen always encouraged us to use our imagination in our quilting projects and was also teaching us new techniques., she will be missed.

  12. On January 4, 2023 at 6:50 pm Linda Goh Said:

    Karen was a very “can-do” person, always up for a challenge, and happily tried new things in her quilting journey. This attitude and exploration stood her well, as she expertly made many very unique and beautiful quilts. She also was community minded and generous. My condolences to her family and friends.

  13. On January 5, 2023 at 8:57 am Blanche Richards Said:

    We are so sorry to hear of Karen’s passing. I am a fellow quilter and friend and gained so much from Karen through our association over the years. She is missed so very much. My deepest condolences to Charlie and her family.

  14. On January 5, 2023 at 12:02 pm Joelle Lemmer Said:

    My condolences to Charlie and family. Karen’s unique outlook expressed through her quilting and love of sharing her skills will be very much missed by all whose life she touched. I’ll miss her smile and funky styles.

  15. On January 5, 2023 at 2:29 pm Pauline Murray Said:

    Karen was so very generous,sharing her ideas, expertise and even fabric with her fellow quilters. She was a good friend and an inspiration. Thank you Karen, Rest In Peace.
    My sincere condolences to her family.

  16. On January 6, 2023 at 7:49 pm Mardi Hayton Said:

    Karen was truly a very special person. Her quilting talents left most of us in awe. And yet she always had a positive word of encouragement for all of her fellow quilters. Her positive attitude and her beautiful smile will be missed by so many. My life is richer for having known her. Sincere condolences to Charlie and all of her family.

  17. On January 7, 2023 at 8:55 am Carol and Barry Ashton Said:

    Charlie & Family,

    We were saddened to learn of your loss. We remember Karen well from our days in Calgary in the 70s. May she Rest In Peace. We offer our condolences.

    Barry & Carol Ashton

  18. On January 8, 2023 at 7:01 pm Judith Love Said:

    A dear friend since 1974 when I taught in Germany.
    Sending my deepest condolences to all the family.

    Judith Love

  19. On January 13, 2023 at 2:03 pm Patrice Clarke Said:

    I got to know Karen in the aqua classes I taught at the old and new pools in Cochrane. I loved her self-confidence and how encouraging she always was to others in our group, and – not being a quilter myself – was blown away by her creations placed here and there in her home. She is missed by many, and none more than by her loved ones. Rest easy, Karen.

  20. On January 14, 2023 at 4:40 pm Kim Darvill Said:

    Charlie, It is with deep sadness that I send my condolences to you and your family. I truly enjoyed when you, Karen and Joey would visit me at the vet clinic. It was a bright moment in m day to visit with her. Karen was a lovely person and missed by many. I am so sorry for your loss.

  21. On January 16, 2023 at 2:52 pm John & Lynn Thomson Said:

    Charlie and family, we were so sad to hear of Karen’s recent passing. We offer our sincere condolences to your and your family. We always remember Karen bringing items in to Old & Crafty and we were always happy to have them. She was always so pleasant to us and our staff. She took such pride in her work! Again, our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
    John & Lynn Thomson

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