Calvin Chow

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Calvin C. M. Chow

Passed away peacefully at Mills Peninsula Hospital, Burlingame, California on January 21, 2014 at 11:35 PM, just before his eighty-fifth birthday.   At the time of his passing his family and a few close friends were at his side.

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on January 22, 1929, Calvin Chow (Cal) was educated at Iolani High School, and earned a B.S. degree from the School of Pharmacy at Drake University in 1954. From 1951 to 1953, he served in the Marine Corps, and was a pistol instructor at Camp Matthews near San Diego.   After finishing his education and service, Cal began his career in pharmacy at St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco, where he was mentored by Marie Kuck, who became a life-long friend, and  met the love of his life Alice Sen,  whom  he married in 1956. From 1958 to 1960 Cal was employed at Millard's Pharmacy in San Francisco where he learned the retail business of pharmacy.   Cal was an ambitious man who had good business judgment and instincts.  When he was thirty-one years old, he opened his first pharmacy on Valencia Street in San Francisco, and started what would become a prosperous business, Alca, Inc.  Later, together with a few doctors and business partners, he established a medical building in the heart of San Francisco's Mission District.  Over the course of his career, Cal was an active member of the pharmaceutical community in San Francisco.  He served on the boards of the San Francisco Pharmaceutical Association and Pharmaceutical Society of San Francisco.  In addition, as an Assistant Clinical Professor at the UCSF School of Pharmacy, Cal helped train a number of interns. 

Cal was a self-reliant, industrious, and driven man of action, who worked unceasingly to develop and build his business.  The successes and the enjoyment he experienced in life were all well-earned.  He was a devoted family man, who loved his wife and children unconditionally, and tirelessly cared and provided for them.  Even towards the end of his life, when he was suffering multiple illnesses, he was thinking about their well-being.   When he was forty-one, with the support of his wife, he realized his dream of building a beautiful home on the Peninsula, where he and his family resided for many happy years.  He played an active role in designing and developing that home.  Upon completion of the house, he and his wife celebrated by giving a grand party which had a Hawaiian theme.

Cal was also a fun-loving man who enjoyed spending time with his wife and children as well as his extended family in Hawaii.  He loved sharing a good meal and conversation with friends, traveling around the globe, redesigning and improving parts of his home, medical building and pharmacies, maintaining his garden, and attending cultural events.   At work or during meals with family or friends, he could be delightfully playful and utterly hilarious.  Cal enjoyed participating in many athletic and outdoor activities.  During high school, he played tackle for the football team and was a sprinter on the track team.  He was a Bear Backer who provided unflagging support to various athletic programs at the University of California at Berkeley (where his three sons attended college).   At sporting events, as well as in life, Cal was inclined to support the underdog.  He was an enthusiastic supporter of Chinese culture and customs, and was a board member of the Chinese Culture Foundation in San Francisco.  Cal was a generous man, who shared the fruits of his labor with his family members and friends, and contributed generously to various community and charitable organizations.  Nothing was more satisfying to him than seeing the expression of joy upon the faces of friends or family members, when they received one of his many, and at times unexpected,  gifts, or acts of kindness or love. 

Although he lived in the Bay Area for most of his adult life, Cal remained in certain respects a local Hawaiian, rooted in the ways of the islands where he and his seven brothers and sisters were raised.   He had many fond memories of his youth in Hawaii.  For his entire life, Cal remained devoted and close to his parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews.      

Cal's friends and family members will miss him dearly.  They will always have fond memories of him rooting at Memorial Stadium for the Cal football team, preparing and sharing with loved ones a delicious barbecue. 

Calvin was pre-deceased by his father, Mew Ting Chow, and mother, Git Lee Chow, and is survived by his wife,  Alice Sen Chow, his three sons, Mark William, David Paul, and Edward James Chow,  his brothers  Kenneth, Donald,  Alfred,and  Robert,  and his sisters Lillian, Eunice, and Carolyn.

A private service attended by his immediate family was held for Calvin on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, at Skylawn Funeral Home.

Funeral Home
Skylawn Funeral Home
10600 Skyline Blvd San Mateo, CA 94402
(650) 349-4411
Funeral Home Details
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 9, 2014
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