Harry Chow, after a life loved and well lived, passed away on June 20th at age 96. Born Joe Gum Ko in 1928 at 126 Cordova St. Vancouver, he would become a lifelong resident of Colwood. Harry grew up on the family’s Colwood farm during the hard times of the 1930s and graduated from Victoria High School in 1945.  With his brother Alec, they took on the farm raising pigs on property that is now Cairndale and St Troy Rd. Harry would say about the farm business – “you worked on the animals’ schedule meaning very long hours, and there were always worries about being able to pay back the farm loans.” After a long courtship he convinced Helen Lowe, a city girl, that life in the “sticks” of Colwood wouldn’t be too bad, they married in 1954. The family was completed with son Perry, daughter Denise, Basset Hound Blossom, and later, a second son, son-in-law Ian.

In the small house on Wishart Rd., they would host many large parties with family and friends. Their neighbours would regularly drop-in for coffee with Helen and most likely, some of her famous baking. The door was always open to visitors, which continued when Harry entered civic politics. In 1974, Harry and Alec closed the farm. Harry worked for a few more years at Cross’ Meat Market and without farm worries, he was finally able to enjoy extended family vacations. Harry bought a motor home in which he and Helen would enjoy many road trips together. In his 40’s, Harry found his new passion – golf. He loved playing and became skilled, getting four hole-in-ones. A long-time member of the Metchosin and Gorge Vale Golf Clubs, he played up until his 90th.

As a well-respected trustee with the Colwood Fire Hall, Harry was approached by many residents to put his name forth for council of the new city of Colwood, in 1985. Always topping the polls, he served as a Councillor and then Mayor for three consecutive terms.  As a Chinese Canadian, who grew up in a time when citizens of Chinese descent were denied their right to vote, being elected mayor was a special accomplishment for him. Of his many initiatives, he was proud of the $1 purchase of a B.C. Highways property for the new Colwood City Hall, and the free garden waste drop offs.

In the late 1980s, with Helen’s declining health, Harry was a dedicated caregiver until she passed away in 2001. Harry’s next chapter in life would bring much happiness.  He took up cruising and found Sue, who with her, not only would he share many wonderful travel experiences together, but would become part of her family which gave him much joy. In his 90’s, he came full circle moving back to Colwood joining brother Alec in Trillium Village. As dementia started to set in, we will always be thankful to Alec for looking after his older brother.  Harry was always an easy going guy.  While in care, the caregivers would always say, “he’s such a nice man.” Special thanks to staff at St. Charles Manor and Mount St. Mary for your dedicated care of our dear Dad. You are our heroes.

Harry would say to everyone who made his life so full – THANKS A MILLION.  Being the modest man that he was, Harry requested no service.

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens

  • Janet Lai

    Dear Denise, Ian and Perry,

    I’m truly sorry for the loss of your father and father-in-law. Mr. Chow played an important role in Chinese Canadian history, blazing a path of public service and civic mindedness that inspires all those who came after and all who benefited from his hard work.
    I remember meeting him – the radiant smile and the kind words – and thank you for sharing all the wonderful memories.

  • Sally Hannah

    Sincere condolences to all the family .When we built our house on Cairndale, we were the last house…not a single one on the Mountain .So much has changed since then , but the memories of the wonderful Chow family remain.

  • Hailey

    I am so sorry to hear of Harry’s passing.
    Although I only knew him for a short time as a caregiver of his at Mount. St Mary Hospital, his kindness, gentle manor and sweet nature was obvious from the moment I met him.
    My condolences to his family and friends that are feeling the loss of a great man.

  • Anne-Marie Lou-Poy-Tasko

    Uncle Harry’s Christmas shortbread cookies were the highlight of the holiday season. We will forever remember his kindness, generosity, wisdom and so much more. How grateful are we that he was a part of our family!! Love, Moyzee, Jamie, Mimi and Wyatt

  • Jennifer J Hall

    Denise, Ian and Perry,

    I am so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. Harry’s kindness and compassion for people and his community was an inspiration to me in being active in the Colwood community and on council. As a neighbour, I loved chatting with him and seeking his advice. Wishing you wonderful memories to cherish and heartfelt condolences.

  • Mary

    Harry was a great brother, I have memories of all the things he did for me, he will be missed m

  • Gary Smirfitt

    My condolences go out to all the Chow family on their loss.
    You could never find a nicer, more honest and sincere man to know than Harry Chow. I was fortunate enough to work at Colwood during his time as Mayor and as a councilor and he served the community that he loved well. We played golf a few times and being on the course with him was also enjoyable although he always beat me badly
    It would be a much better world if more people could be as nice as he, and Helen, were to those who worked at Colwood City Hall.
    A true gentleman was Harry Chow. Love to those of his family that remain.

  • Margo Whitbread

    I extend my sincere condolences to Perry, Denise, Ian and Sue. Harry was an honest, good man with integrity that never faltered. It is a pleasure to have called him my friend and to have served as a councillor on Colwood Council during his terms as mayor. Harry you will be missed.

  • Carol & Arnie Hamilton

    Sincerest condolences to family and friends of Harry. He was dedicated and committed to community and always a pleasure to speak with. He will be missed by those who remain but welcomed with many open arms by those who have gone before.

  • Chris Foord

    Harry was one of the happiest and nicest people I ever met. I had a lot of time and respect for him. It was very fitting that on the opening day of the Juan de Fuca par 3 golf course, Harry, the Colwood Mayor, made a hole in one on the 9th hole. Very fitting. He was a calm and reasoned voice in local politics during his three terms as mayor. I enjoyed many games of golf with him at Gorge vale. He was a good friend and just such a nice person, something we could all learn from. A life well lived Harry. We will miss you.

  • Meghan, Dylan, and Hayley

    We are so sorry for your loss. Harry was one of the kindest and gentlest souls I’ve had the privilege to know. His love for his family was always at the core of who he was. He was an inspiration.
    We will miss him, but continue to think of him, especially any time we have “Harry waffles” or a roast 🙂 He will always be with us. Rest in peace Harry. Hugs to all those that loved him

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