Deceased September 22, 2009
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Joseph Lawrence Chow ’07 died tragically on Sept. 22, 2009, while hiking in the southern region of Tanzania. He was serving in the Peace Corps as a teacher at the Ndanda Secondary School, and had aspired to apply to medical school in the future.
At Amherst, “Speedy” Joe was a devoted member of both the Swimming and Diving and Water Polo teams. His teammates recall that although he was never the fastest swimmer, he was far and away the most determined. He was a unifying force on the team and his dedication was a critical part of the team’s success. Joe’s enthusiasm was ubiquitous; he always gave 110% and drove everyone else to do the same. A genuine scholar outside of the pool, Joe double-majored in Chemistry and History while maintaining his rigorous training schedule. Joe was best known on campus for his witty sarcasm, blunt honesty, quirky mannerisms, love of “awesomely bad” movies, and his infectious smile.
After graduating, Joe left for Kenya with the Peace Corps, but was relocated to Tanzania in the wake of the post-election conflict. Once there, Joe taught introductory college level physics and calculus, and adjusted quickly to a new culture, language and education system. In addition, Joe spearheaded HIV/AIDS awareness and testing programs in his community, and found time to teach his students swimming lessons as well as train with the cross country team.
In everything he did, Joe brought a level of commitment and effort which was without parallel. He demanded an incredible amount from himself, expected no less from his peers, and brought out the best in all of us. He was never one to miss out on life’s opportunities, from small treasures like an Italian Combo at an Arthur Ave. deli, to the Peace Corps itself. He will be sorely missed by his family, friends, and the Amherst community. Joe is survived by his parents, Dr. Raymond Chow and Dr. Donna Robertson-Chow, and his younger brothers, Daniel and Kyle.
John Ancona ’07
Adam Kaplan ’07
Mark Yarchoan ’07