Newsletter | May/Jun 2021

Joanne Winship photo: Glacier National Park

Remembering Roz Koo

by Bobbie Sue Hood
I knew Roz as a grad student at UC Berkeley and in my first job. Gerald McCue asked me to come and work for him, and Roz ran his office - first when he was Chair of the department at UC Berkeley and then after she left UC and joined MBT..

She came from a very wealthy banking family in Shanghai. She came to America getting out just before the revolution. She was a brilliant raconteur and had a gift for speech making and telling jokes. She could deliver one liners like a professional comedian!  I think the men at the office were jealous of her power and brilliance. They called her (behind her back) the Dragon Lady. 

Roz attended Mills College in Oakland.  I talked with her about 6 months before she died and she was as sharp as ever. I told her I was thrilled that my own children live nearby me in San Francisco and have enjoyed great success. She said be good to your children because they are the ones who will take care of you when you get old. I thought that was  an interesting thing to say. She brought two daughters up brilliantly in Oakland.

She made possible many institutions in the Chinatown community including the Chinese Cultural Center. She sponsored many girls' educations in China. She told me once that they called her Po Po, Chinese equivalent of Granny is. She was very proud of sponsoring education for some women in China. She was one of the most remarkable people I have ever known.

Joanne Winship Photo: Glacier National Park

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