Wayne Y. Chinn, 61, passed away at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., Thursday, June 20, 2019. He was born Sept. 11, 1957, in Seattle, Wash., to Yee G. and Leahe (Christian) Chinn.
Wayne was raised in Centralia, Wash. His formative years were spent working at his family business, The Shanghai Cafe, that his grandfather opened in 1928, or shadowing his grandfather at other restaurant businesses throughout Centralia and Lewis County. The Shanghai was located just behind the fire station on N. Pearl St. The sound of a truck pulling in or a siren going off would have him flying out the back door and across the alley to the station when he was a small boy. The two service industries formed in him a bond of brotherhood that he carried throughout his life.
Wayne lived in many places throughout his life, but never shook the soil of Centralia from his feet. He read The Chronicle daily and kept up with the growth and changes in his hometown. An avid history enthusiast, he learned from his grandfather local history going back generations. A staunch believer in the importance of education, he graduated from The University of Washington with an master of business education degree and was a certified executive chef.
He lived throughout the Rockies and the Pacific Northwest, leaving a bit of his heart in Estes Park, Colo., and in Alaska. His passion for his heritage was reflected in his spearheading and organizing a Chinese New Year celebration, including a Dragon Dance and fireworks in Estes Park. He lived a full and happy life and his passion for the culinary arts and education led him to sponsor and mentor high school students in Prostart culinary competitions in Tillamook, Ore. He felt strongly about supporting first responders and whether working directly in the field or as a volunteer, he truly never left the station. Wayne found joy being outdoors, whether it involved feeding wild elk in Colorado, deer in Washington or moose and eagles in Alaska. He was an avid photographer of nature, wildlife and his flowers in his garden and yard. He enjoyed road trips exploring the back roads and the coast.
Wayne is survived by his wife, Deborah; beloved daughter, Steph; and his furry children, Honey Bear and Little Boy.
He was preceded in death by his parents; grandmother, Sau “Sue”; and his kindred spirit, grandfather, Kan D. Chinn.
Wayne will greatly be missed for his humor, intelligence, soft heart, passion of food and the culinary arts, old school work ethic, sense of tradition, sentimental spirit and his support of first responders. Condolences may be sent to the family in care of Sticklin Funeral Chapel, 1437 S. Gold St., Centralia, WA 98531. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Wayne to any of the following charities: www.fireems.foundation.com, firstresponderkids.org or www.firehero.org