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Ruby Chow

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Ruby CHOW June 6, 1920 ~ June 4, 2008 Ruby Gum Seung Mar Chow was born on June 6th, 1920 in Seattle, Washington. She died just two days short of her 88th birthday. The eldest daughter in a family of 10 children, Ruby quickly learned to care deeply for family, dropping out of Franklin High School during the depression to go to work to support her younger siblings. Hearing of job opportunities in New York, she moved across the country to become a waitress. It was there she met her future husband and best friend of nearly 70 years, Ping Chow. They soon opened Seattle's historic Ruby Chow's restaurant, a magnet for Seattle's elite, visiting dignitaries and elected officials. It became her base for changing ideas and demystifying Chinese culture and cuisine to the general public, smoothing the way for healthier community relations in Seattle and later, the success of Asian political candidates. While running a restaurant and raising a family, she founded the Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team and Dragon team in 1952. In 1974 she worked with Seattle's schools to establish bilingual education at Asa Mercer Junior High School. When her friend, city councilman, Wing Luke, died in a plane crash, she helped create the museum that bears his name. She ran for King County Council in 1973 becoming the first Asian American elected to that post. Her career in public service continued as she rallied around those looking to be heard. She was a strong and meaningful voice for many. In honor of her work on behalf of King County, Ruby Chow Park was created in 1990. Recently, King County named the 8th floor of the new Chinook Building after her. Her legacy continues through the lives of her husband Ping and her children, Edward, a Pres. Clinton appointee to veterans affairs, Shelton, a retired public school teacher, Cheryl, Seattle School Board president, Brien, a businessman and volunteer youth coach and Mark, an elected judge. She is also survived by four daughter-in-laws, Margaret, Jeannie, Marcia, and Carol, 6 grandsons, 3 granddaughters, 3 great-grand sons, brother William Sing Mar, sister Mary Mar Pang and kid brother Roy Sing Mar. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team, PO Box 28832, Seattle, 98118 Memorial Services will be held on Wednesday, June 11th, 2008 at noon at Town Hall, 8th and Seneca streets, in Seattle. Please sign the online guest book at www.washelli.com
Published in The Seattle Times from June 8 to June 11, 2008
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