Dr. Rolland Lowe, a tireless philanthropist and leader in San Francisco Chinatown, died Saturday at the age of 85.
Lowe was a common sight at community events in Chinatown and throughout the Bay Area, even as his mobility slowed.
He was the first Asian American president of the California Medical Association and according to the San Francisco Chronicle, passed up offers to work for various prestigious clinics to open up a private practice in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
He graduated from medical school at UCSF at the young age of 22.
“In my dad’s generation, when you ask, ‘What is his community?’ he would say China. In our generation, we say, ‘Chinatown is my community,’ ” said Lowe back in 2006. “The youngest now think globally. How do you tie the three generations together? How can we be cohesive? That’s the big challenge.”
Lowe founded the Chinese American Community Foundation and served as chair of the Lawrence Choy Lowe Memorial Fund.
He also donated $1 million with his wife Kathy to help open the Rolland & Kathryn Lowe Medical Center in Oakland in 2014.
“Rolland was one of the most pioneering community leaders that San Francisco Chinatown has ever had,” said Vincent Pan, Co-Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action where Lowe served for several years as a board member. “He was instrumental in building and supporting many of the neighborhood institutions that we now take for granted, and that he helped pave the way for many of our civic leaders throughout the City.”
The Mercury News says Lowe has received numerous honors including the Chancellor’s Award for Public Service from UC San Francisco, the Silver SPUR for Lifetime Achievement Award and the Champions of Health Professions Diversity Award from the California Wellness Foundation.
He’s also been honored by Asian Health Services in 2013 and by Advancing Justice — Asian Law Caucus in 2014.
He is a longtime benefactor of Chinese for Affirmative Action in San Francisco and served on its board for many years along with his wife. His son Randall currently sits on the CAA board.
“May he rest in peace and his fight for justice and our people live on,” said Christopher Chow, a documentary producer and journalist. “He encouraged me by his example and encouraged so many others with his stands.”
Information about services are pending.
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