Malcolm Scollay Low

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1926 - 2015
Malcolm Scollay Low, a visionary and pioneer in acoustic engineering, computer science and digital imaging, died on June 28, 2015 in Alameda, CA after a short illness. Mr. Low was 88.

A descendant of Seth Low (past president of Columbia University and Mayor of New York City), Malcolm Low grew up in NY, NY and spent summers in Bristol, RI and Bridgewater, VT. As an adult, he lived in Cambridge and Manchester, MA; Salt Lake City, UT; York, ME; and Alameda, CA. He was the son of the late Benjamin Robbins Curtis Low and Virginia Wagner Low. He was married to Joan Russell for 56 years. Mrs. Low died in 2008. His sister, Caroline Low Kenyon, also predeceased him. He is survived by his sons Abbot A. Low and Christian C. Low, daughter-in-law Florence C. Low and his two grandchildren, Justin O'Brien and Sophie Low.

He was educated at the Buckley School (NY, NY); St. Paul's School (Concord, NH); and Fountain Valley School (Colorado Springs, CO), received degrees from Yale (B.A.) and Columbia (M.A.), and later became a Research Fellow of Computer Science at Harvard University. Mr. Low served in the U.S. Army as an instructor in advanced operational theory for surface to air guided missiles.

Mr. Low was widely regarded for his ability to envision the relevance of breakthroughs in electronics and computer science and then bring them to market at the highest quality. He was instrumental in founding several ground breaking companies that are today remembered as engineering and technology innovators.

He co-founded Acoustic Research (AR) in 1955. Subsequently, as a founding partner of KLH Research and Development Corporation, he joined with Henry Kloss and Josef Anton Hofmann in bringing sophisticated audio equipment to the market; KLH sold over 30,000 high fidelity loudspeakers a year in the early 1960s, but it also introduced high selectivity FM radios, tuners, and solid state turntables. When KLH was sold to Singer, Mr. Low continued at the company for a short time.

His next venture was in digital imaging in 1968, as a founding partner of Evans and Sutherland Computer Corporation in Salt Lake City, UT. Mr. Low was the Treasurer and VP of the company that introduced the world to digital recording and computer graphics.

After leaving Evans and Sutherland, Mr. Low returned to New England, founded a series of innovative consumer electronic businesses and served as a consultant to several international manufacturing companies, including Braun, Gillette, and Philips.

An avid sailor his entire life, Mr. Low loved cruising in Maine and raced across the Atlantic, including to Bermuda and Denmark from Newport, RI on two occasions. He had an extensive wine collection and generously donated fine bottles to charity auctions over the years. His family and friends were the beneficiaries of his prodigious culinary talents in the kitchen as well.

In retirement, Mr. Low began writing novels and memoirs. He was working on a family history when he died, recounting the Low family's involvement in the 19th century China Trade.
Published on NYTimes.com from July 27 to July 28, 2015
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