Rolland Lowe
1932 - 2017
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Rolland Choy Lowe

September 29, 1932 - November 4, 2017

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 innumerous 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.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Nov. 8 to Nov. 12, 2017.
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Memories & Condolences
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3 entries
January 20, 2019
I was Dr Lowe's patient for several years starting in 1965 when I lived in a residential hotel on Stockton Street. In those days Rolland didn't take appointments, patients were seen on a first come first served basis. His office hours were from about noon until all his patients who were still waiting had been cared for. The charge for an office visit including medication was $5. My job in those days paid about $4 an hour and there was no insurance, but because of Dr Lowe I could afford health care. I remember repairing the lock on his office door one day -- he traded me a couple of office visits for that.


I had surgery with Rolland once. He removed a tumor. The total charge, including the hospital fee, was $135. But the tumor came back. He scheduled me for another surgery, saying he would dig a little deeper this time, what a sense of humor! The surgery was successful, and there was no charge -- this was a warranty job, I guess.

Dr Lowe was a fine doctor, but much more, a fine and extraordinary human being. It was a privilege to know him.
David Sligar
July 23, 2018
I just happened upon this page now; Dr. Lowe was a community advocate and inspiration. Thank you, and my best to his family.
November 28, 2017

Our deepest condolences to the Lowe family.

When we visited our American cousins, we were always made to feel special and feel important. That was always Kathy & Rolland's way.

The memories go back so far in time, many are in black & white !

We are proud of you and miss you Uncle Rolland. Rest in Peace.

Diane & Philip Mew
Victoria BC Canada
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