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Ruby Chow: Profile

Growing up the eldest of ten children with a single mother, Ruby Chow learned the power of ordinary people helping each other out. Inspired by Madame Chiang Kai-Shek's eloquent speeches on behalf of her people, Chow made a promise that "if she was ever in a position to help others, she would."

This August 19, 1987 file photo shows Ruby Chow, the matriarch of Seattle's large Chinese-American community. Family members said the restaurateur and politician died Wednesday, June 4, 2008, at her Seattle home of heart failure. She was 87.

The Chow's restaurant was a gathering place for Seattle's movers and shakers. Roby Chow became a leader within the Chinese community, despite traditions that kept women in the background. She also worked to "demystify the Chinese community an culture" in the white community.

Ruby Chow eventually turned her talents to public office, serving as the first Asian American on the King County Council from 1973 to 1985. Her accomplishments included establishing bilingual education in public schools.


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