COLUMBIA — Local architect Pon Chinn, of Columbia, died Wednesday, June 8, 2011. He was 84.
Mr. Chinn left a legacy of commercial and residential projects in Columbia and surrounding areas. Some of his notable projects include Columbia Regional Airport's current terminal, the concrete canopies that graced downtown Columbia for four decades, Boone County National Bank facilities, the Langley Atrium at First Christian Church, the A.L. Gustin Golf Course clubhouse and both City of Columbia Golf Course clubhouses.
Mr. Chinn was born in Kwangtung, China, and came to the United States with his uncle in 1936 at the age of 10. He grew up in North Platte, Neb., and graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1955 with a bachelor's degree in architecture.
While attending college he met his wife, Elsa Carino Palafox, with whom he had three children.
In 1959 the family moved to Columbia, and Mr. Chinn was hired as the in-house architect for Stephens College where he worked for two years. In the early 1960s he established the architectural firm Chinn, Cragin & Darrough. When that partnership dissolved in the early 1970s, he established Chinn & Associates, where he practiced and mentored many local architects until his death. For 17 years he taught architecture at MU while also practicing professionally.
Mr. Chinn was an excellent cook, loved to entertain and enjoyed traveling overseas. He also enjoyed golfing, hunting, fishing and woodworking. He opened several Columbia restaurants including Kai Min, the first Chinese restaurant in the city. He most recently taught Chinese cooking classes through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at MU.
He was also involved in the community and was a member of several advisory boards and service organizations.
He is survived by three children, Kimi Chinn Rother and her husband, Rick, of Columbia, Kathi Chinn of Columbia, and Kevin Chinn and his wife, Linda, of Atlanta, Ga.
His wife, Elsa; brother, Steve Chin; and nephew, Warren Chin, died earlier.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. on June 19, 2011, at Firestone Baars Chapel at 1306 E. Walnut St. The family has requested that a fund be established to support local youth golf programs and a legacy memorial in Mr. Chinn's name. Memorials may be sent to the family in care of the Memorial Funeral Home at 1217 Business Loop 70 W.