October 30, 2015 - 2:30 PM
KELOWNA - Courthouse flags across the district are at half-mast today after the sudden passing of a beloved provincial court judge.
Judge Anne K. Wallace was just 61 when she collapsed in her home Monday evening after a full work day. A sudden brain hemorrhage left her in a coma and doctors declared her legally dead.
Her colleague and friend judge Jane Cartwright describes her as 'the heart of the chambers' at the Kelowna courthouse.
“She was just a whirlwind,” she says. “You knew when she was in the building because she was louder than most and very chatty and always doing something and laughing. She was passionate about everything she did.”
Cartwright met Wallace at Law School in the late 70s but they fell out of touch for many years, until Wallace was called to the bench in Kelowna in 2005.
“We became very good friends,” she says. “She was always happy and positive and kind and she was the most enthusiastic person I’ve ever met. She was very involved in charities and community justice projects. She personified public service.”
Most people who met Anne Wallace probably did so looking up at the bench, or perhaps read her decisions, but she did some personal writing as well. She wrote on JCP.ca about her successful battle with breast cancer in 2002.
“I just went through her desk and there are letters there from people who wrote her from jail apologizing and thanking her for how she treated them in court,” Cartwright says. “She has letters and thank you cards and all kinds of things all over her office. Her office is full.”
One of the notes she found in the desk is a reminder she wrote to herself to thank her husband, Russ, for a wonderful marriage.
“She was very appreciative and so giving,” Cartwright says. “If anybody did anything for her she was just so grateful.”
Wallace continued giving even after her death. According to Cartwright, it was Wallace's wish that her organs be donated and by doing so she saved the lives of five people and gave the gift of sight to two more.
“She was a perfect organ donor, she was healthy and vital.”
Wallace, the oldest of five siblings, leaves behind her husband and two daughters, Katie, 26, and Lauren, 22.
“Her husband is a rock but her girls are inconsolable,” Cartwright says. “They are devastated. They were very close to their mother.”
On Friday, Oct. 30, the Kelowna courthouse held a moment of silence and lowered the flag to half mast. Close to 100 people attended, including family, friends and staff at the courthouse.
“She was well loved,” Cartwright says. “It’s hard to imagine a world without Anne Wallace.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015