Jul 30, 1962 - Jul 07, 2023
It is with breaking hearts that we send the sad news that Jenifer Eelin Aitken, our beloved daughter, mother, wife, sister, aunt, and dear friend to so many, died suddenly on Sunday the 9th of July. As some small comfort, she was allowing herself a rare break from working and taking care of others, delighting with her husband Hanif, for their 25th wedding anniversary celebration at the Five Lakes Club, where their family had spent many glorious times. In her final moments, she exclaimed how perfect it was.
Jeni, daughter of Don and Jo, brought so much love, generosity, kindness and sacrifice to all who were fortunate to be in her orbit.
A devoted daughter and wife, a second mother and confidante to many (including her brother Thomas and his wife Kate, sister Melanie, and nephews Jake and Thomas), she was a constant source of strength, comfort, and sound advice. A safe port for all who knew her, her generosity for anyone in need knew no bounds. But above all else, Saj and Meg, her two children, were her sun and moon, her joy, her reason to be.
Everyone who worked with Jeni knew her exceptional analytical mind, prodigious work ethic, exacting judgment, and profound humility. Jeni attended University of Toronto Schools, graduating at 16, and headed to Trinity College, then U of T Law School. Jeni distinguished herself in academics, moot courts, and her capacity to form and nurture lifelong friendships. Jeni moved to Torys for several years, taking a (most fortuitous) break to study at the London School of Economics, where she met her warm, life, and Jeni-loving husband, Hanif.
After working at Herbert Smith and Arnold & Porter in London, she and Hanif returned to Canada with their firstborn, Saj, where together they built a life, rich in love and friendship. They soon after welcomed with great joy their daughter Meg-just about nine months after that power outage of 2003! In Ottawa, Jeni worked first at Borden Ladner Gervais, and then at the Department of Justice, taking on successively greater responsibilities at Industry Canada, Heritage, Treasury Board and Finance. It was in her last role as Assistant Deputy Minister for the Central Agencies Portfolio at the Department of Justice, where she was the principal legal advisor to the Department of Finance, that it felt to those who for so long admired her, that Jeni finally found the peace she had always deserved, confident in the value of her exceptional contribution to the country she loved so much.
Jeni delighted in her friends and family. She touched people—in all corners of her life—in a special way. We know so many are grieving with us today. Although a host of people relied upon her, she always found time to gather, hike, travel and explore. A testament to her love for Hanif, Jeni, not much caring for athletics, learned to love skiing, kayaking, biking and adventures hiking the West Coast Trail and in the UK, and New Zealand.
Jeni was selfless in her service to her community. Dear to her heart, Jeni served as Clerk of Session at Glebe St. James United Church, giving unstintingly of her faith, empathy, time, and talent.
From childhood to maturity, Jeni lived for the benefit of others, and perhaps that is why we lost her far too soon. She deserved to spend many more summers at her cherished Prince Edward Island, finally relaxing a bit, warmed by the knowledge of the incredible young man and woman she raised, with her devoted husband, and basking in the love of friends and family. We mourn the loss of our beloved Jeni, celebrating with gratitude the lasting gifts she gave to so many.
A service of thanksgiving for the extraordinary gifts Jeni brought to all she touched will be held on Saturday, July 22, at Glebe St. James United Church – 650 Lyon Street South in Ottawa at 11:00 am. The service will be followed by a reception in the Church, one that she considered a second home, and to which she gave selflessly and with grace. For those who are unable to attend in person but want to join in the celebration of our dear Jeni, a live stream will be available and can be watched from the following link https://youtube.com/live/Twhbli1353k?feature=share
If desired, we know Jeni would be touched by contributions to the Glebe St. James outreach fund, or a charity that means something to you.