Jim S. Chinn peacefully passed in his sleep in Concord, CA on March 31, 2021. He was 95 years old.
Jim was born on October 20, 1925 to Mr. Chinn Siu Yip and Mrs. Chinn Zhu Si.
Jim was raised in Toisan, People’s Republic of China and there met his wife Suey Mui. They had three children together before Jim set off alone to the United States from Hong Kong by ocean freightliner via the South China Sea to pursue a better life for his family in America.
After his arrival to California in 1950, a young Jim began work at Stockton Poultry with his brothers cleaning and delivering chickens. He then gained employment as a cook and began the long process of bringing his family to California from mainland China. These efforts were frustrated on both sides of the Pacific both by American immigration authorities and their Chinese counterparts.
After many years of hard work and savings, Jim moved to Concord, California to continue to pursue his American dream.
In Concord, Jim opened York’s Fine Foods at 1855-1857 Adobe Street in the mid-1960’s. York’s was a hofbrau cafeteria-style restaurant serving both
American and Chinese cuisine and had a loyal local customer following. Some may remember the curry turkey hot lunch special which drew long lunch lines to the downtown Todos Santos area.
As his business continued to flourish, Jim continued to his efforts through various obstacles, to obtain passage for his family to America. Jim, his wife and children finally reunited in 1966 in a bittersweet reunion at San Francisco Airport after sixteen years apart. For more than a decade he knew his family only by the correspondence he received, telephone calls and the photographs of his growing children which he kept close to him.
A large party was thrown at York’s to celebrate the reunion and the family’s journey was featured in an article in the Oakland Tribune. His children, who all graduated from Mt. Diablo High School, and other family members continued to help with the restaurant’s operation until Jim retired in 1987.
Jim and his loving wife Suey Mui continued to live in Concord where they enjoyed spending time with their family and grandchildren and watching television show such as Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy until her passing in 2005.
Jim’s interests included playing mah jong, keno and the San Francisco 49ers. Jim also kept a tank with a pair of turtles in his living room to the amusement of his great-grandchildren when they visited him.
Jim is survived by his three adult children, Ying Chuck Chinn (Concord, CA) Wai “Faye” Ping Kwok (Pleasant Hill, CA) and Ying Bor Chinn (Concord, CA); five adult grandchildren (Prisca Chinn, William Chinn, Annie Chinn, Willis Chinn and Robert Kwok), and six great-grandchildren.
A memorial service for immediate family will take place on April 9, 2021 at 1:00pm at Oakmont Memorial Park in Lafayette, California. As an alternative to flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
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