Thursday, Jun 21, 2018
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Peter Lau (1932-2017)

Red Cross director excelled on many levels

Memorial services for Dr. Peter Lau, retired director of regional blood services for the American Red Cross, will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Red Cross on the University of Toledo Health Science campus.




Dr. Lau, 84, died unexpectedly of a heart attack March 23 in his Redmond, Wash., home while caring for his wife, May, who has been in poor health, son Stephan said. The couple moved there from Maumee about nine years ago.

He retired at the end of September, 2001, after 26 years leading Red Cross blood services in the western Lake Erie region, including nine counties of northwest Ohio and Monroe County in Michigan. The Red Cross honored him with its Charles Drew Award for Exceptional Service as he retired.

“Medically he was brilliant,” said Mary Lee Rietzke, a retired director of administrative services for the Red Cross’ blood services region. Another attribute allowed him to think strategically.

“He had an extremely good business sense,” Ms. Rietzke said.

He was skilled in multiple roles, his son said — in clinical work; teaching and doing research, and as an administrator. He was a professor emeritus of the former Medical College of Ohio, where he also was director of transfusion services.

He was born May 15, 1932, to Kam King and Shuk Han Lau, both schoolteachers, in Zhongshan City of China’s Guangdong province. The Japanese invaded, and the family escaped to Hong Kong, then part of the British empire. They later lived in Macau, then a colony of Portugal. He received scholarships to attend university in Taiwan and medical school in Manila.

The couple married Feb. 2, 1964, and moved to the United States, where his wife was a citizen. After an internship, he had a residency at Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia and a fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. He was an associate medical director of the blood bank at the university’s hospital and was chief of the hematology laboratory of Philadelphia General Hospital.

He was a former member of St. Joseph Church, Maumee.

Surviving are his wife, May; sons Stephan and Christopher Lau; sisters Agnes Lau and Margaret Tong; brother, Francis Lau, and two grandchildren.

The family suggests tributes to American Red Cross blood services.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.

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