Rolland Choy Lowe
Birth Date: September 29, 1922
Death Date: November 4, 2017
Rolland Choy Lowe died peacefully at his home in Walnut Creek on Saturday, November 4, at the age of 85, after a prolonged illness. He leaves his wife of 60 years, Kathy; his sons Larry (Jeanne) and Randy; his daughter Yvonne (Bob); and grandchildren Brennan, Laura and Marnie.
Born in San Francisco, he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and received his medical degree at University of California, San Francisco. He was a longtime resident of San Francisco and Orinda.
Dr. Lowe was a family doctor and surgeon in San Francisco Chinatown for over 40 years, but that was only a part of his life. He had a second career as a community leader, a third as a professional leader, and a fourth as a philanthropist. Throughout, he was a deep thinker, a consensus-builder and a mentor.
As a doctor, besides helping thousands of patients over the years, Dr. Lowe was the Chief of Staff and Chair of the Board of Trustees at Chinese Hospital. He helped found the Chinese Community Health Care Association, the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Care Forum, and the Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations. He served as the first Asian American president of the San Francisco Medical Society, and the first Asian American president of the California Medical Association.
He was a real pillar of the Chinese American community, helping found Chinese for Affirmative Action, the Chinese Culture Foundation, the Chinatown Youth Center, and Self-Help for the Elderly, and helped with countless other community organizations, including the Tung Sen Benevolent Association. He worked with the broader San Francisco community, too, serving as a San Francisco Civil Service Commissioner, and with the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) and the Bay Area Planning Council.
Dr. Lowe had a passion for supporting and developing philanthropy, particularly in the Chinese American community. He served on the board of the San Francisco Foundation, and with the Council of Foundations and the United Way Bay Area. He helped found the Chinese American Community Foundation, and a private foundation named for his father, the Lawrence Choy Lowe Memorial Fund.
For his vision and dedication, Dr. Lowe received in numerous honors and recognitions from organizations and associations, including the Chancellor’s Award for Public Service from the University of California, San Francisco and the Silver SPUR for Lifetime Achievement Award. He was recognized by the Clinton White House Conference on Philanthropy as a Hero of Philanthropy. His contributions were also acknowledged by many, many other community groups, including Asian Health Services, the Asia Pacific Fund, Wu Yee Children’s Services, and the Chinatown Resource Center.
Even with all this, he found time with family and friends to enjoy fine dining, California wines, world travel, mah jong, musical theater, skiing, tennis and following the Giants, the Warriors, Cal football and (in better times) the Forty-Niners. He will be deeply missed.
The family is having a private funeral service, and plans are underway for a public Celebration of Life. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations are made in his memory to Chinese for Affirmative Action, the Chinese Culture Foundation, the Chinese Progressive Association, or the charity of your choice.