THE ADVOCATE 885
VOL. 76 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2018
More than 200 family members, friends and colleagues
filled Heritage Hall on July 3, 2018 to honour
and pay tribute to an outstanding woman, Carolyn
McCool. In the many tribute speeches, words used to
describe her included forceful, courageous, elegant,
empathetic, political, intellectual, dedicated, compassionate,
generous, meticulous, fearless and rigorous.
She was remembered as an ardent advocate of social justice issues, an
international educator on the rule of law, the mother of two exceptional
children and a dear friend to many.
Carolyn was born in Coronado, California in 1946 at the U.S. Navy Hospital,
the daughter of a captain in the U.S. Navy who received of the Medal
of Honour. Given her father’s occupation, her family moved every few
years—she went to about eight different schools in the U.S. and Thailand,
and graduated from grade 12 in Japan. In a letter to her high school graduation
class Carolyn wrote shortly before her passing, she explained that she
was determined at that time to turn her itinerant experience into an opportunity.
That goal shaped her life. After graduating from high school she
enrolled at the University of California; studied philosophy, formal logic
and modern dance; got her ears pierced; went to demonstrations; disagreed
with her father over Vietnam; married a philosophy professor who was
Canadian; and moved to Canada in 1971. Shortly thereafter she attended
law school at UBC and graduated in 1976.
At Carolyn’s memorial, Stuart Rush spoke of her enthusiastic participation
in the Law Union of British Columbia in its early days. In particular,
Carolyn was involved in the union’s work to bring social justice to the plight
of farm workers and was part of the first successful certification of farm
workers in B.C. She continued her work there and assisted on many groundbreaking
cases. Mr. Rush described her eloquence at the CBA convention in
November 2010 when she and Louise Mandel spoke on the importance of
the rule of law, and her courageous, crisp address to the conference in
answer to the recent anti-immigration legislation in a U.S. state. Her interest
was for those living on the fringes of society.
Carolyn’s first marriage did not last, but she remarried in 1980. She then
gave birth to Kate, now a criminal defence lawyer with the Legal Aid Commission
in Yellowknife, and Nick, a graphic artist for a Vancouver film company.