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The talented Ms. Tomlin

There has never been a West Coast Editorial Associates without Barbara Tomlin—until now. On January 1, 2016, Barbara officially retired from the partnership she co-founded with six other experienced editors in 1992.

Barbara is not “retired retired.” She continues to edit and teach for select clients. But she’s also doing more of the things she loves: travelling and adventuring with her husband, Terry Hood; enjoying books, galleries, and guilty TV pleasures; taking long walks with her dog; and scanning the horizon for whatever might capture her immense creativity and intelligence next.

It would be impossible in a short article to list a fraction of the projects and clients fortunate enough to have snagged Barbara as an editor, writer, or trainer. And forget about trying to capture her decades of teaching and volunteering outside the partnership. Instead, we’ve come up with 10 things you might not know about the talented Ms. Tomlin.

1. She was a child actor with the Bastion Theatre Company in Victoria and almost made acting her career.

2. An ace scientific editor, including of the BC Medical Journal, she’s certified as an Editor in the Life Sciences, one of the most rigorous editing credentials around.

3. For a time she went everywhere, even client meetings and classrooms, with a puppy she was training for guide dog school. The puppy didn’t make the cut (too social) and settled permanently into the Tomlin household.

4. Editors Canada certification benefited hugely from her volunteer efforts, including as co-chair of the certification steering committee (2008–2010).

5. With her keen analytical mind, she not only project-managed complex jobs, she also became our go-to partner for anything to do with the website or partnership archives.

6. With her boundlessly creative mind, she not only wrote on topics from lawn care to flu drugs but celebrated partners and special occasions in video and lyrics.

7. Besides teaching in SFU’s writing and publishing program since 1988 (no, not a typo), she spent over a decade on the editing advisory committee, steering the development of SFU’s now sought-after editing certificate.

8. She swims like a fish and twists easily into any yoga pose.

9. She won an Award of Excellence (2001) from the Society for Technical Communication for three patient guides about breast cancer, later published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

10. Oh, and did we mention that while she did all this, she and Terry raised three exceptional children?

Barbara’s days (and sometimes nights) of full-time work with West Coast Editorial Associates are over. Our days—and months and years—of missing her in our midst have only just begun.

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. You didn’t mention her culinary excellence. You cannot describe her earth-friendly cookies. Over all of the above she is the undisputed leader of the five Tomlin sisters (each of whom has their own exceptional talents), and she spends much time and effort visiting her 86 year old Dad up in Prince George, and quarterbacking reunions, etc. My bias is transparent, but sister Barb (I have the great good fortune to be married to sister #4) just spent a week hosting nephew Tom and most of the other 13 nephews, nieces and her own brood, leaving a batch of memories that he will cherish forever. Barb, We Love You…..

  2. Speaking as one of the “three exceptional children” (thank you for the generous descriptor Frances), I can corroborate on all of the above. It should also be added that I am known around my office as “the one with the best proofreading skills”. A credit, to be sure, to the talented Ms. Tomlin. You really are so talented and intelligent and excellent at being our Mom. (Also, we all want to hear more about the child acting). XO

  3. Congratulations, Barb–though you are far too young to retire! You will be greatly missed in the world of editing, writing, and publishing.

    It’s hard to believe how many years ago it was that I first met you, when we were both hired to work on Douglas & McIntyre’s Explorations social studies series. We were meeting with the fearsome Carol Langford, who was lecturing us about pedagogical frameworks, expansion pages, and inquiry-oriented, activity-based, child-centred activities, and you actually seemed to understand what she was talking about. I believe you even started tossing out terms like “key concepts,” “learning outcomes,” and other educational buzzwords yourself. I was hugely impressed and have been ever since. I am sure you will shine in whatever your next pursuits may be, and I look forward to hearing all about them. All the best to you in this new chapter of your life.

  4. Another thing few people know about Barbara is that she is a founding member of the Four Goyles. The group of four editors worked together many years ago on the venue committee of EAC’s national conference in Vancouver. Barb, Shelly, Jane, and I hit it off so well that we continued to get together long after the conference. We enjoyed indulgent evenings of wine and dinner and somewhat raucous conversation. Barb, with her brilliant sense of humour, kept us laughing. In 2012 we all got busy and our seasonal dinners dwindled into emails that could never pinpoint a date and time when we were all available. I’m cheered by Barb’s retirement and her commitment to having fun. Maybe a Four Goyles reunion is in the making. Congratulations, Barb.

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