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Barbara Hoctor Lynch, former NPR host, has died at 77

Barbara Hoctor Lynch, right, is pictured cohosting <em>All Things Considered</em> with Noah Adams at a studio in a former NPR building in Washington, D.C., during the 1970s.
Art Silverman
Barbara Hoctor Lynch, right, is pictured cohosting All Things Considered with Noah Adams at a studio in a former NPR building in Washington, D.C., during the 1970s.

Barbara Hoctor Lynch, a former broadcast journalist who hosted NPR's All Things Considered in its early days, died earlier this month. She was 77.

Hoctor Lynch died after a struggle with cancer on Sept. 18 at a rehab facility in Somers, N.Y., where she spent her final days receiving care, her brother Chris Hoctor told NPR. She was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer this summer that had spread to her colon and liver.

"My family called her an eternal optimist," he said. "Even as she was terminally ill, she would always try to care about others like me [and] call me on the phone in the hospital and say, 'How are you, what are you doing today?' "

Hoctor Lynch landed at NPR in the late 1970s, when she was hired to host the weekend broadcast of the network's first news program, All Things Considered. In November 1979, she debuted the first top-of-the-day news show Morning Edition alongside co-host Bob Edwards. As host, Hoctor Lynch covered a wide range of current events, such as the Carter administration during the Iran hostage crisis and the 1980 presidential election.

NPR's CEO John Lansing extended sympathies to Hoctor Lynch's family in a statement on Friday.

"Hoctor and co-host Bob Edwards were at the forefront of the news program that would bring a new style of storytelling to the early-drive-time airwaves and grow to become the most listened-to news radio program in the country," Lansing said.

Hear Barbara Hoctor co-host Morning Edition on Dec. 31, 1979

In an era when few women held front-facing positions in journalism, Hoctor Lynch counted herself among a pioneering class of broadcast stars that included Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer and Judy Woodruff.

She was a role model to many younger women, her brother Chris said, including her nieces and cousins.

"People wanted to be like Barbara," he said. "She was very warm and caring about others and highly intelligent."

She left NPR shortly after Morning Edition was up-and-running and focused on raising her newborn son, said Chris, Hoctor Lynch's youngest brother. She was previously married to former CBS News anchor Bill Lynch, an award-winning journalist who died earlier this year, and kept his last name except on air, when she went by Barbara Hoctor.

"Barbara didn't talk a lot too much about her broadcasting career, but she was very proud of it and she loved what she did," Chris said.

Before coming to NPR, Hoctor Lynch hosted NBC's News and Information Service, the broadcaster's attempt at an all-news radio format, from New York's 30 Rockefeller Plaza until the program shut down in 1977.

Born in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, Hoctor Lynch attended Roosevelt High School in Yonkers, where she did cheerleading and graduated with honors. She also attended Barbizon modeling and acting school in New York and went on to work as an extra in a couple of films. Her sole acting credit, according to IMDB, is for her role as a cheerleader on The Patty Duke Show, which her brother Richard Hoctor said she landed through a friend who produced the show. In 1968, Hoctor Lynch graduated from Syracuse University, where she studied communications, Chris said.

Straight out of college, she taught English to high school students in Westchester, N.Y. Meanwhile, on nights and weekends, she started working at a local radio station.

Hoctor Lynch spent her later years in Westchester. She is survived by her only son, Patrick, and her brothers, Chris, John and Richard.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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