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Lois (Eng) Lew
December 21, 1924 ~ October 15, 2023 (age 98) 98 Years Old
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October 15, 2023 at age 98. She is predeceased by her husband, Yuen Y. Lew and daughter, Susan Anna Lew. Survived by son, Arthur, two grandsons; two sisters, and family members.
Mrs. Lew was the owner of the Cathay Pagoda Restaurant in downtown Rochester for many years. She also was the master of the IBM 5,400-character Chinese typewriter.
Born Lois Eng on December 21, 1924, in Troy, New York, her early life was marked by struggle, political turmoil, and near constant movement. Shortly after she was born, her family returned to China in the years leading up to the outbreak of war with Japan in 1937. When war erupted, Lois' family was forced to flee. At the age of 16, Lois ventured upon a trans-Pacific voyage by herself, disembarking at San Francisco and then taking a train (again by herself) to Chicago. She could speak and understand barely a few words of English.
When the IBM Chinese typewriter was debuted to the world, Lois Lew was an employee of IBM office in Rochester, New York. She became a capable typist and was able to translate and memorize codes. Her expertise in the use of the Chinese typewriter was the subject of many articles and a variety of journals. On top of this, publishers were enamored of her beauty, and her face appeared along with the articles.
For Lois Lew, life after IBM took her in a completely different direction. She and her husband started a laundromat of their own, and their success enabled them to launch Cathay Pagoda, a new Chinese restaurant in Rochester in 1968. The restaurant attracted students and young people, but also celebrities who visited Rochester. The restaurant, which ran for decades, became a mainstay of the city before its nearly forty-year run came to a close in 2007.
Friends may call Wednesday, October 25, 2023, 4:30-7:30 PM at the funeral home (495 N. Winton Rd.). A Graveside Service will be held Thursday, October 26, 2023, 1 PM, at White Haven Memorial Park, 210 Marsh Road, Pittsford.