At a very young age, Roderick was sent to China to learn the Chinese language and culture. Unable to return to Canada because of World War II, he spent his formative years in China. In 1960, Roderick, with his wife, Lillian and her family opened the Jade Palace Restaurant which they operated for twenty-five years. He also operated a travel agency for nearly thirty years. Roderick was instrumental in the redevelopment of Calgary’s Chinatown and raising its profile amongst the larger community. He was also a pioneer in Canada-China business relations and made inroads into Hong Kong and particularly Mainland Communist China, promoting the City of Calgary as a great place to do business. Until his death, Roderick remained active in his community work and various business ventures.
In 2008, Mount Royal’s Centre for Continuous Learning was renamed in honour of Calgary businessman and College alumnus, Roderick Mah. The building became known as the Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning. The colourful event to remember Mah, who was dubbed the ‘unofficial mayor of Chinatown,’ was attended by hundreds of guests from across the city. Roddy’s vitality, humour, kind heart, positive spirit, and willingness to help will be missed.