Unsung Hero #184

Judge Edward R. Karazin, Jr. is one of 12 men and women to be inducted into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame this year. 

That’s just the latest honor for the longtime Westporter (and 1957 Staples High School graduate). In her nominating letter to the Hall of Fame, his daughter Deborah Owens writes: 

My father and mother were married on May 8, 1965. The newlyweds expected to spend my father’s 2 years in the Army in Georgia at Fort Gordon, where my father would serve as a civil affairs officer.

The war in Vietnam changed all that. In November of 1965 he was sent to Vietnam for a 1-year tour of duty as a civil affairs officer working the Pacification Program in Quang Tin Province as a MACV advisor.

Edward Karazin in Vietnam …

He served with distinction, and upon discharge he was presented with the Bronze Star. The Vietnamese government also awarded him the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross.

After his return to he civilian world, my father immersed himself in his 2 other passions: the law and his family. He started his career in Westport, serving as an assistant prosecuting attorney for the State of Connecticut.

Over the next 2 decades he did trial work as an attorney, helping clients in civil cases and family law matters.

In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s VFW Post 399 on Riverside Avenue undertook major renovations. Improvements included new docks for boats on the river and a new brick addition. My father did much of the legal work pro bono. It included land use work with the town, review of contracts, and preparation and review of many other documents.

The VFW was so appreciative that he was given a lifetime VFW membership! As an aside, I had my “Sweet 16 Party” in the renovated party room.

In 1990 my father was nominated to a state Superior Court judgeship by Governor O’Neill. He accepted with honor, and served in that role until becoming a judge trial referee in 2010.

… and Ed Karazin today.

He has not only served justice traditionally, but has given his time to others in many additional ways. He has spoken on panels about law and justice, served on the Ethics Commission, led the Veterans Day ceremony at the courthouse and even come to my children’s schools to talk about law, military service and honor. He helped my son’s Cub Scout pack achieve a badge by telling them about the branches of the government and the importance of democracy.

As chief administrative judge, my father undertook the daunting task of opening the new courthouse in Stamford. Under his leadership, everything and everyone moved successfully from the old facility to the new one.

My father never tires of working, sharing stories, and engaging with others. Even now at 80, he continues to work as a judge trial referee in Stamford. (His court is temporarily closed due to COVID.) Last year he was honored by the Fairfield County Bar Association with the Robert J. Callahan Judiciary Award. It recognizes dedication to the highest professional ideals, and long-term conscientious service to the community as a judge.

My father was born the son of a home maintenance man who eventually ran his own small business on the Post Road, and a homemaker. He went all through the Westport school system, including Greens Farms Elementary School, Bedford Junior High and Staples.

Ed Karazin in uniform, on Veterans Day.

He was the first in his family to go to college. After earning a BA from Boston College in 1961, he headed straight to law school. He graduated from Fordham University in 1964. He was also commissioned a 2nd  lieutenant in the Army in 1961, which began his military career.

My brothers Edward and Michael and l went through the Westport public school system. We were fortunate to have our dad working locally so he could coach our Little League teams, play lawn darts, take us to BC football games, and host backyard barbeques for his Vietnam veteran buddies.

My father was a dedicated volunteer who helped shape our community. Our garage overflowed with equipment for the town’s baseball teams. His many, many volunteer positions (including Board of Finance), civic engagements, awards and organizational affiliations are important, but the bottom line is that my father was (and still is) busy, and the majority of what he did (and does) is for the good of others: his family, town, state and country.

My father’s community-minded spirit led me into a life of law and volunteerism as well. Both of my brothers are also active members of their communities, and all-around good citizens. After too many Sunday night dinners with “Grandpa” to count, both of my college-aged children are considering future lives of service as well.

Ed Karazin (far right) and his wife Rene (2nd from left), with chlldren and grandchildren.

My father’s favorite game — “What Would the Judge Do?” — helped my children develop critical thinking skills, and showed them there are always many sides to any given issue.

From his days as a young government lawyer and his service in Vietnam to his never-ending devotion to his family and community, my father, Judge Karazin, has served his country, his state, his community, and his society as a whole with honor, integrity and selflessness.

His story is one that would inspire others. It reflects highly upon the State of Connecticut, its public schools, and its people. Judge Karazin would be a wonderful addition to the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame.

Congratulations, Judge Edward Karazin, on your latest honors: Selection to the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame, and “06880” Unsung Hero of the Week!

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

Another family portrait.

21 responses to “Unsung Hero #184

  1. Kathryn Sirico

    Congrats Ed! One of the most kind and deserving person I know to receive this award and all his awards !

  2. Congratulations Judge. In the early 70’s I had occasion to visit the Circuit Court which was located on the 2nd floor of the Westport Police Dept. I happened to be on the receiving end of a speeding ticket. Ed Karazin was the prosecutor and I was represented by renowned Atty. Vincent Tirola. Ed was most compassionate and understanding. As a matter of survival I joined the WPD and was fortunate enough to follow Ed’s career thru the years. Congrats again on this latest honor and I look forward to seeing you on your Compo Beach walks.

  3. Leslie Riback

    This is a beautiful story! What an amazing guy and family! You deserve the appointment to the Veterans Hall of Fame and so much more. Thank you for serving and all you do! Congratulations!

  4. Congratulations Ed! Well deserved!
    Pat and Sal

    • Jack Backiel

      First of all congratulations to Ed. Sometimes 06880 actually jogs my memory. I believe I knew a Karazin family in the late 1950s that lived off Old Road on Forrest Drive. If I’m correct, Ed had a sister named Ann. I’d love to know if my memory is correct. Thanks for the great story, Dan.

  5. Congratulations, Ed! I miss running into you and Renie at the Y. I hope you are both well.

    • Renie Karazin

      Thank you Cia, we will be returning from California on May 5th. I look forward to going to the Y, will see you there.

  6. Judith Freedman

    Well done Ed. You are a super hero and well deserving of this honor.Always good to see an old time Westporter recognized Best to Rennie.

  7. Michael Nayor

    Deborah you have overlooked one major facet of Ed’s life – golf. As someone who has mastered the sport, Ed continues his proclivity for service by always encouraging others on the golf course, with a well-placed “great shot” or other positive comment. This when added to his talent as an able raconteur, makes him a highly sought-after addition to any foursome.

    Congratulations Ed. Well deserved. See you at Longshore.

  8. Tom Feeley Sr.

    Way to go fellow MACV.‼️ 🇺🇸
    Back in the late 70s a group of Staples seniors hung a dummy from the roof teasing the incoming Freshman class. They were arrested and charged with criminal trespass. Ed wrote in the Westport News “Don’t the police know the difference between a criminal trespass and a prank⁉️“. Took brass ones back in the day to call out the police but the Chief dropped all charges.
    I was delighted to know that Connecticut had a highly qualified judge with more than brains. 👍🏼👍🏼🎖🇺🇸

  9. Michael A Rea

    Congratulations, Ed !
    A dedicated son of Westport that continues to give to the whole community.
    Thank you for all your service.

  10. Caryl Beatus


  11. Tom Kashetta

    Congratulations Judge Karazin! Much deserved accolades! Thank you for your service to our great country. The very best to you and your family.

  12. Prominent Westport lawyer, volunteer in town government, distinguished judge…a role model for many of us. Thanks, Judge, and be well.

  13. Michael Calise

    An Amazing life. A native Westporter for all of us to be proud of. Congratulations Ed!

  14. Marv Goldstein l

    Also an outstanding racquetball player……we had many exhausting matches at the old Y..Ed made every point a war.


  15. Eva Rosenblatt

    How lucky my husband Paul & I were to have Ed & Renie as our first neighbors. We could always count on Ed’s sage advice & quick wit. Thank you Debbie for eloquently writing about your Dad. What a family!!

  16. Edward Karazin

    Thank you to all who posted comments about my Veterans Hall of Fame award. You brought back many fond memories. I thank the Sate of Connecticut for this wonderful honor.

  17. Beverly Ellsley

    Congratulations dear friend ……its been an honor to know you and your lovely family Your Honor!

  18. Kathy Calise

    Congratulations Ed, I consider myself lucky to have known you and your sister in almost all my life. You are an amazing man and you came from an amazing family.

  19. George & Joan Hauerstein

    George & Joan Hauerstein June 8, 2021

    Congratulations Ed for the recognition of your exemplary life well lived in the service of others.
    It has been most enjoyable and fun knowing you and Renie as lifelong friends these past 50 plus years.