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Lilly C. Tow

April 21, 1921 April 13, 2015
Lilly C. Tow
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Obituary for Lilly C. Tow
Surrounded by her loving family, Lilly C. Tow,  daughter of Mr.and Mrs. Chun Sau Chin, passed peacefully at her home on Monday April 13, 2015.  She was 93 and married for over 50 years to the late Yat K. Tow, a member of the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.


Lilly C. Tow, was a unique, unheralded individual who never sought the spotlight yet became an important part of a generation of legendary, entrepreneurial Chinese-American restaurateurs.
In the 1940's through the 1980's it was rare for a woman to combine raising a family and also have a business career too. She was able to combine two careers and succeeded in both.


Born in Boston, she grew up in the restaurant business with her parents and 6 siblings. She became part of another restaurant family when she married Yat K.Tow.
This marriage partnership led to the development of hospitality landmarks.

In the early 1950s they were the first in Rhode Island to foresee the wave of popularity of Polynesian themed restaurants with the opening of the Polynesian Room in the Ming Garden. Holiday Magazine acclaimed it as "one the best Chinese restaurants in America". Lilly's vision, knowledge through reading, and travel experience, made the Ming Garden #1.


In 1972 the Tows purchased a Warwick landmark The Great House.  It was known for being that special location for celebrations... a destination place. Attired in her elegant dresses, she felt it was very important to interact in her gracious charming ways with the patrons. It was here that she was able to display her love and talent for creating things of beauty. While attending the Ikebani classes at the Museum of Fine Arts, she nurtured and developed her different styles for flower arranging.
But as a life -time achievement, she takes greatest pride in her Family.


Lilly is survived by five children: June Tow (George Yick) and Wellington Gerry Tow of Providence; Janyce Lee (Calvin)of Needham, Mass.; Leslie Lem (Robert) of New York; and Christopher Yat Tow of Cranston.  Also six grandchildren: Jonathan Lee, Alexandria Shigueta, Andrew Lem, Heather Tow-Yick, Melissa Hong and Sarah Lem.
And finally, five great grandchildren: Alexander Shigueta and Chloe Shigueta, Matthew Hong and Robbie Hong, and Andrew William Lem.


Visiting hours will be held Thursday April 16, 4-7 pm at Monahan, Drabble & Sherman, 230 Waterman Street, Providence.

A private service and burial will be at the Swan Point Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the

Lilly C. Tow Fund, Rhode Island Foundation, One Union Station, Providence, R.I. 02903.

​Visiting hours will be held Thursday, April 16th from 4-7pm at the Monahan, Drabble & Sherman Funeral Home, 230 Waterman Street in Providence. A private service and burial will at the Swan Point Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to the Lilly C. Tow Fund, Rhode Island Foundation, One Union Station, Providence, RI 02903
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