Ruby Chow

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Ruby Chow
Mar Seung Gum (Surname = Mar)

(1920-06-06)June 6, 1920
DiedJune 4, 2008(2008-06-04) (aged 87)
OccupationRestaurant Owner
Spouse(s)Edward Shui "Ping" Chow
Edward Chow Jr
Shelton Chow
Cheryl Chow
Brien Chow
Mark Chow

Ruby Chow (June 6, 1920 – June 4, 2008; simplified Chinese: 周马双金; traditional Chinese: 周馬雙金; pinyin: Zhōu Mǎ Shuāngjīn; Jyutping: Chow1 Ma5 Seung1 Gam1) was a Chinese American restaurateur and politician in Seattle, Washington.

Early life[edit]

On June 6, 1920 Chow was born as Mar Seung Gum in Seattle, Washington. Chow's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Mar, were Chinese immigrants.[1]


She and her second husband opened Ruby Chow's restaurant in 1948 at 1122 Jefferson Street (at the corner of Broadway & Jefferson) in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood. It was the first Chinese restaurant outside of Seattle's Chinatown. Chow's restaurant staff subsequently included Bruce Lee, the kungfu master.

Her political career started in 1973 when she decided to run for King County Council as a Democrat. She had an encounter with Ted Bundy (later known to be a serial killer) who, as a GOP campaign worker, tried to convince Chow, unsuccessfully, to go Republican. Chow stayed with the Democratic Party and served three terms as a King County councilwoman in Washington. She was the first Asian American elected to King County Council.[2]

The county council named Ruby Chow Park, at the corner of S. Albro Place and 13th Avenue S. (47°32′47″N 122°18′54″W / 47.546381°N 122.315126°W / 47.546381; -122.315126 (Ruby Chow Park)), after Chow in 1985.[3][4]


Chow's first marriage produced two sons. Chow's second husband was Edward Shui "Ping" Chow (November 5, 1916 - June 29, 2011), who received U.S. Citizenship after he was discharged from United States Army. Chow had five children. Chow's children are Edward Chow Jr, Shelton Chow, Cheryl Chow, Brien Chow, and Mark Chow.[5]

Chow's daughter, Cheryl Chow, served as a member of the Seattle City Council from 1990 to 1997.[6] Chow's son, Mark Chow, is a judge in King County District Court in Washington. He is the first Asian-American in the State of Washington to win election as a judge.[7][8]


Chow died in 2008, two days before her 88th birthday, from heart failure in Seattle, Washington. Chow was survived by her five children and her husband, Edward Shui "Ping" Chow.[9][10][11]

On June 29, 2011, Chow's husband Edward Shui "Ping" Chow died. On March 29, 2013, Chow's daughter Cheryl Chow died.[12] On July 22, 2016, Chow's son Edward Chow, Jr died.[13]


  1. ^ Valdes, Manuel. June 8, 2008. Ruby Chow, Seattle's Chinese-American matriarch, dies" The Spokesman Review". Retrieved Nov 23, 2016.
  2. ^ Chesley, Frank (2007-01-18). "Chow, Ruby (1920-2008)". HistoryLink. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
  3. ^ Council expresses condolences on the passing of former King County Councilmember Ruby Chow,; accessed October 19, 2014.
  4. ^ Eskenazi, Stuart (2008-06-05). "Ruby Chow, first Asian American on King County Council, dead at 87". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
  5. ^ " Edward Shui "Ping" Chow". Retrieved Nov 23, 2016.
  6. ^ "Cheryl Chow comes out while dying of brain cancer". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  7. ^ "Judge Mark Chow, West Division". Retrieved Dec 30, 2016.
  8. ^ "Meet Judge Mark Chow". Retrieved Dec 30, 2016.
  9. ^ Obituary,; accessed October 19, 2014.
  10. ^ Lau, Betty (2008-06-14). "A remembrance of Ruby Chow's extraordinary life". Northwest Asian Weekly. Archived from the original on 2012-12-03. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
  11. ^ Wong, Brad (2008-06-11). "Hundreds pay final respects to Ruby Chow". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
  12. ^ Apr 5, 2013. Cheryl Chow, educator and former city council member, passes away at 66 " Northwest Asian Weekly". Retrieved Nov 23, 2016.
  13. ^ Bayang, Ruth. Champion of veterans, Edward Chow, Jr., passes away " Northwest Asian Weekly. July 28, 2016". Retrieved Nov 23, 2016.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
John O'Brien (R)
King County Council (District 5)
Succeeded by
Ron Sims (D)