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Services scheduled for Rose Pak, late SF community leader

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Mayor Ed Lee, left, and former Mayor Willie Brown join friends, family and colleagues of Chinatown community leader Rose Pak to speak about what she meant to San Francisco during a press conference held at the Chinese Community Development Center in San Francisco’s Chinatown District on Monday, following Pak’s death. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Services for Rose Pak, one of San Francisco’s most well-known and consequential Chinese-American community leaders who died Sunday, were announced at a news conference Monday attended by numerous city leaders including Mayor Ed Lee and former Mayor Willie Brown.

Pak was found dead in her Chinatown home Sunday morning. Authorities said she died of natural causes, and further details about her death were not disclosed Monday, though she had an ailing kidney for which she traveled to China last year for a transplant.

Arrangements for Pak, 68, will be held at Green Street Mortuary, 649 Green St. Visitation will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. Funeral services will take place on Saturday at Old St. Mary’s Church, 660 California St., San Francisco from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with Brown giving the eulogy.

Both services will be open to the public, but seating will be limited. After services, there will be a procession to the Cypress Lawn Cemetery followed by remembrances and meals in Chinatown.

“She was one of the first people I met when I was as a young attorney, actually a law student, in Chinatown,” said Lee, who characterized their relationship as one of “deep friendship.” Pak spearheaded a drive for Lee to consider successfully running for mayor becoming the first Chinese-American ever elected to be mayor of major U.S. city.

Pak left a legacy of significant accomplishments, chief among them raising $35 million to renovate San Francisco Chinese Hospital in Chinatown, friends and family said. In the 1980s, she brokered a deal to create the Central Subway that would connect Chinatown to the subway system, which is scheduled to open in 2019. She was also a tireless advocate for affordable housing.

“She built a team around her who she supported and loved,” said David Ho, a consultant for the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. “That team was key to her ability to advocate.”

On Sunday evening, City Hall was bathed in white light in honor of Pak, who was also known as “White Rose.”

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