A leading figure in the community of Whistler has died in a road accident while vacationing in New Zealand.
Kathryn Jane Barnett, 49, the president, co-owner and publisher of Pique Newsmagazine was struck by a car while cycling with a bike tour near Taupo. She was with her husband, editor of Pique Newsmagazine, Bob Barnett, who was not injured.
No one else was injured in the accident, which remains under investigation by local police authorities. It is believed that the car involved was following another vehicle closely uphill on a busy, two-lane highway and the driver didn’t see Barnett until the first vehicle pulled out to give her room
The incident took place at roughly 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30. The road was closed for two hours following the crash.
As news spread through this mountain community there were tears, and a profound recognition of the rich legacy Barnett has left us all.
“Murphy (Kathy’s maiden name) was a wonderful and forceful leader and a wonderful person,” said a tearful Peter Alder, who has known Kathy for over 20 years.
“She was outspoken. She was a friend to many of us, and, well, her smile was infectious.
“This loss is just incredible. She touched so many people but she was very discreet about many of the things she did. And they were so excited about going on this trip.”
Barnett was active in a number of community and business organizations. She was a founding member and past president of the Community Foundation of Whistler, a board member of the Women’s Enterprise Centre of B.C., past chair of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, and in 2005 she was appointed to the provincial Ministry of Small Business and Revenue’s roundtable on small business.
Her experience encompassed accounting, finance, businesses administration, corporate securities, and small business management consulting.
She was also awarded the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Person of the Year award in 2002.
But the true measure of her work cannot be found in the list of her accomplishments, for it lies in the endless hours of behind the scenes work she did for a community she was deeply passionate about and for the people she cared about. She was not just part of the CFOW, she was a founding director and president; she wasn’t just a friend she was a mentor.
“She really had a role as a mentor in this community given the fact that she was a very successful female business person and a community leader,” said Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, who worked with Barnett to found CFOW.