Influential Political Activist Rose Pak Laid to Rest in San Francisco

A San Francisco icon was laid to rest Saturday at a packed Old Saint Mary's Cathedral.

Rose Pak, a 68-year-old Chinatown powerhouse, died Sunday of natural causes following a kidney transplant.

Politicians, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and former Mayor Willie Brown, and community members spoke fondly of Pak.

"She was a lot more than anyone can ever be able to express," said Brown, who was close friends with Pak.

Pak was well known for being the voice of the Chinatown community.

"Over the years, you saw her touch everything in the community and whatever she touched, she made it better for the Chinese community," said city resident Ada Lowe.

Many believe Pak built political careers and brought citywide growth after moving from China to the Bay Area in the 1960s. The fact that she never hid her opinions was also celebrated.

"She had the biggest thorn than anyone would know. All the politicians they were scared of her in some way," Rev. Norman Fong of the Chinatown CDC said.

Pak was applauded for a long list of accomplishments, including helping to develop the Central Subway which will connect to Chinatown in three years.

Now that Pak is gone, there's a push to foster new community leadership, but people in Chinatown believe that Pak is irreplaceable.

"No words can match what she meant to me and what I think she meant to the city," Brown said.

Hundreds also flocked to the Green Street Mortuary in North Beach to say thanks to Mama Rose, as she was called.

"It was a very sad night but it was a celebration of an amazing person," said city Supervisor David Campos.

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