The woman who served for years as the voice and face of the BC Coroners Service for years has passed away.
Barb McLintock died on Saturday at the age of 68 from complications related to recently-diagnosed thyroid cancer.
McLintock, a former award-winning political journalist and Victoria bureau chief with The Province newspaper, joined the Coroners Service as an investigating coroner in 2004. In 2011, she took on a more public role, becoming the first coroner of strategic programs — a role that involved managing media relations.
Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe released a statement Saturday lauding McLintock’s work and expressing sorrow on the part of the entire service.
“Barb was a natural in this role, as a well respected journalist from her days as a legislative reporter. She elevated the awareness of the work done by our agency in death investigation and leaves a tremendous legacy in this regard,” she wrote.
“I cannot say enough about the credibility, professionalism and experience Barb brought to the coroners service. Barb was on a first-name basis with virtually every experienced journalist in the province, as well as most of the politicians.”
Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer told Global News McLintock was a trailblazer, one of the first women in the to-this day male dominated legislature press gallery.
“When you go up the entrance way in the press gallery int eh buildings, there’s pictures of every press gallery going back to the turn of the previous century, and there are no women there until about 1973, which is the year Barbara showed up.”
“She must have been in her early 20s, and right from the beginning she was a terrific newspaper reporter. Fair but accurate… she had this amazing eye for the holes in legislation.”
The respect McLintock had accrued in her years with the press and as a public servant was clear on Saturday, as her passing was met with an outpouring of memories on social media from colleagues and public figures.
“The world has lost a wonderful soul. Barb McLintock was a superior journalist and public servant,” tweeted Premier John Horgan.
“Barb was a legendary reporter. Incredible memory for quotes. Reporters (and lawyers) would leave the courtroom and double check their notes with her during breaks. Her notes were considered the official transcript. And she was the first to spot a flaw in legislation,” wrote Global BC’s chief legislative reporter Keith Baldrey.
She “was a legendary reporter for The Province at the legislature and a respected B.C. coroner. She loved singing, horses and bird-watching. She was also a master at knitting and needlepoint,” wrote Province newspaper columnist Mike Smyth.
“Barb was a wonderful person and so helpful,” wrote Global BC reporter Jordan Armstrong.
“As spokesperson, if she couldn’t answer a question, she’d tell you where to look or what to FOI to get your answer. Very few do this. Condolences to Barb’s family.”
“Barb McLintock was one of the most unusual and wonderful people I ever knew…an institution for years in the Press Gallery and then a new career with the BC Coroners Service as the best communications person there ever was…devastated by news,” wrote former Globe and Mail correspondent Rob Mickleburgh.
“She was always there to edit and counsel me, talking me down during those inevitably sleepless nights before a major story I had written broke. She must have taken thousands of my calls over the years. And she made me the journalist I am today,” wrote Sean Holman, now a journalism professor with Mount Royal University.
McLintock retired from the Coroners Service in 2017, though returned on a part-time basis to help with strategic projects and communications.