April 7, 1949 - May 14, 2012
The Family wishes to express their deepest gratitude to the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and all the staff at DMC. Once again, the Chin Family stood at the bedside of their dear loved one and watched in awe as dedicated professionals gave their all to help facilitate a miracle. This time it was The Lord's will that Darryl depart this mortal life.
He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Kathleen Chin (McConnell) and their "miracle baby" triplets (DMC NICU graduates) Thomas, Michael, and Claireen Chin.
Darryl was a "hands-on" man who loved to serve others. His motto was, "It's all about service." He was a classical pianist, who was recently learning the art of accompanying the ballet. He so loved working with the artistic director and dancers of the Juline Regional Youth Ballet. During the past four years, he enjoyed the privilege of volunteering in the AG Dept. at Hughson High. He spent the last 17 years accompanying, on piano, the children's primary at church.
By profession Darryl was a mechanical engineer and tool and die maker. He termed himself a "gear-head" who worked in the field of aviation maintenance and repair/precision machining by day, and by night he studied all things mechanical (namely cars, especially fast cars!)
He received a BA in Psychology from SJSU. He was a life-long learner, and continued his math and science education at MJC, U of U, and Stan State. He was a man DRIVEN to continue growing and learning, but always had to remind himself to slow down and be patient. His favorite Zen saying was, "Don't push the river; it flows by itself."
A memorial service will be held Tues., May 22 at 7:00pm at the LDS Fine Av. Chapel, 2618 Fine Av., Modesto (corner of Floyd and Fine). In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation in his name be made to, The Juline foundation for Children, PO Box 577661, Modesto, CA 95357. firstname.lastname@example.org
Darryl loved my mom, and she loved him. Bruce Young's mom loved Darryl so much that when he was a little boy, she'd take him shopping with her around town and introduce him as her son. Darryl started coming over to my house during our sophomore year. When I was out, my mom would invite him in and fix him a snack or a meal. Already Darryl lifted weights every afternoon at Rob Parkman's ('66) house on Cerritos, and he (Darryl) had the appetite of a mature African lion. When he trusted someone and felt comfortable, he loved to talk, and no one was more simpatico or trusting than my mom. Consequently I'd sometimes learn something about Darryl (a new girlfriend, maybe a new motorcycle), or something about SHHS, from my mom, the next morning before school.
When Darryl went away to college at San Jose State, he loved it immediately, He made a wide range of friends, from local artists to Hell's Angels motorcycle club members. Usually when Darryl came home to Fullerton -- on his big Norton motorcycle, with his long hair flowing in the wind behind him -- he'd stop at my house before riding up the hill to where his mom and dad lived. He'd chat with Mom on the living room sofa and tell her about his experiences with women, student protests, smoking marijuana, meeting people who were members of the Black Panther Party, and more. He had an earnest, enthusiastic way about him, and from him these anecdotes were never actually shocking. If I came home from college the same weekend, I'd often arrive late at night to see a note inside: "Darryl is home. Call him any time."
So I would. We were both night people already, and we loved to visit LA. By now I had friends all around, and there were the clubs on Sunset Darryl loved, too. Sometimes we'd reach the city by 2 AM and stay till 8 or 9 in the morning. Almost every visit ended with a stop at Tommy's at Beverly & Alvarado, known for years to everyone who went to college in LA or nearby. Darryl would order 2 or sometimes 3 or even 4 chili cheeseburgers, and we'd sit on the lawn across Alvarado and devour our meals like wolves.
Not everyone knew how brilliant Darryl was, except his Golden Hill classmates and other friends and teachers. But in Fullerton, he was never scholarly like his brother Jeff. Darryl wanted to be doing things, with people, going somewhere, and learning. He was one of the most curious people I ever met, too. He'd ask me questions that I did my best to answer, and we'd talk about single subjects for hours, until they were exhausted.
When I first heard about the movie title, "The Man Who Loved Woman", I thought about Darryl immediately, and still do. Darryl LOVED women. He noticed every single SHHS girl for 4 years, and had kind, admiring comments about 99% of them. Then there were the one hundred or so who drove him absolutely flippo with attraction. I'm happy to say he dated quite a few of those, too. So we were 2 typical teenaged boys then, talking about girls 95% of the time except for Darryl it was 99.9%.
Darryl had en endearing objectivity and frankness in talking about people, too. He was fair and forgiving. I mentioned one of my favorite Darryl quotations above. But it wasn't often he admitted he didn't like someone. Instead he'd say, "Well, he's a great swimmer but we don't have much in common," or "She has beautiful legs but I don't know her very well," or "He's an extreme squirrel but a pretty good guy once you get to know him."
Darryl could be very funny, too. One time when I was 16, I drove up to LA to see my dad, got in a car accident, and drove home with the right front fender of my mom's '64 Grand Prix bashed in. I came home on the Santa Ana Freeway and Imperial that Saturday afternoon, and finally drove up the hill on Euclid, past Sunny Hills and down to the stop light at Euclid & Commonwealth, across from the Snack Shop where Patti Powers, '65 was a young waitress. I was feeling mighty low and expected to spend the rest of my life on Devil's Island, breaking boulders for a penny an hour to pay for the car repairs. I looked to my right and there was Darryl on his motorcycle, also waiting for the green light. Our eyes met, and he took one look at the damaged white Grand Prix. Then he wrinkled his face in the most excruciating grimace I'd ever seen, made the "WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" sound and looked at me, laughing his head off. I had to laugh, too, and felt a lot better immediately.
Did you know Dr. Chin was a professional level photographer, albeit an amateur? One of his pastimes was going to photo clubs where they hired young models to pose in bathing suits, or yachting clothes, or 1890s costumes, let's say. OK, bikinis, all right. Darryl mentioned this one day up at the Chin home, and asked me if I'd like to see his dad's photos. It so happened Dr. Chin was at home, and he obligingly set up his slide projector and screen in the living room, where Dr. and Mrs. Chin had beautiful heavy dark wooden furniture from China. Now Darryl knew this event would end up funny, so he let the scene unroll while I chatted with Dr. Chin. The research chemist couldn't have been a warmer, more charming host and kept saying, "You will like these slides, Paul." (Imagine Darryl's full throated guffaw,)
The lights went out and the show began. One by one, one after another, Dr. Chin showed us probably 100 photos of beautiful young models in their bikinis or period costumes. He let each slide linger on the screen until we more or less surrendered, feeling faint and out of breath.
Now I couldn't exactly talk to Dr. Chin with the candor that young guys so often employ when they discuss attractive women. That made Darryl roar as he watched me fumble for words:
"Oh, she's quite attractive, Dr. Chin!"
"What gorgeous long black hair, sir!"
"A true milk and honey complexion, sir! Yes, she's quite pretty!"
By now Darryl had actually slipped off his hassock and rolled onto the living room carpet laughing, Just like ROFLOL.
I should have mentioned that each time I praised a young lady's photo, Dr. Chin beamed and said, "Oh, you like? You like!"
By the end of this session, I wanted to go out in the back yard and sleep for a while under the oak tree until my heart stopped pounding. I tried my best to collect my wits about me as Darryl grew hoarse with more laughter and short of breath from howling with glee. Later that afternoon when I was about to leave, Dr. Chin approached me with an envelope full of color photos, consisting of each girl's photo that I'd admired. He'd developed them immediately as a gift. He was a superb host.
Darryl had a gentle relationship with his mom. She was a pretty, quiet lady from Oregon, and as a native of cosmopolitan Shanghai, Dr. Chin would tease her about being a girl from the boondocks. Darryl and his mom talked often and intimately. I'm sure she encouraged him, and consoled him after bad days at school. Whenever I came to visit, Mrs. Chin answered the door, whispering only, "Come in". It was a full year or more before she called me by name. Chinese women of her generation were subject to strict customs and rules of behavior. Later on my mom and Mrs. Chin talked on the phone and became friends, too.
When word came that Dr. Chin had died, Darryl must have started home from San Jose immediately, or maybe the next morning. He arrived in Fullerton around 9 PM on a Tuesday or Wednesday night, and came to my house on South Basque first. Of course my mom was there, and the two friends talked for quite a while, but I was out on a date in Westwood. By the time I finally got the message about Darryl and his dad, it was after midnight, but I knew what to do.
I rushed to Fullerton and drove up to the Chin house, climbing North Richman to get there, and I was fearful about a sad, tearful situation I imagined I'd find. Instead, I believe Jeff answered the door, and Darryl was there with Mrs. Chin. I wouldn't say they were cheerful, exactly, but they smiled and were glad to see me, and we sat down and had a coke in the kitchen. Jeff always had a pleasant way of standing in a doorway, listening and smiling, and when he wanted, contributing to the conversation. He was relaxed and genial, even on that sad night. I guess maybe they'd had all day, or maybe longer, to get a little bit used to the news, or maybe it hadn't hit them much yet. Darryl was always a philosophical person, well acquainted with the tragedies and sadnesses of life.
Time passed and it was half past 2 AM. Jeff and Mrs. Chin went off separately to sleep. Darryl grew quiet and said, "Let's go somewhere, man." I never needed any persuading with my buddy Darryl. When we got in my Volkwagen, Darryl said, "Let's go up to LA."
I want to emphasize we never did anything you'd call evil or even mischevious, and usually in LA we limited outselves to visiting this or that girl I knew in the Wilshire District or Van Nuys or Venice, or UCLA classmates I knew on campus, or friends Darryl knew from San Jose State, regardless of the outrageous late hour.
On this fateful night, or early morning, neither of us said much as we rode along the Santa Ana Freeway northbound. We'd always have the radio playing, and of course if we heard a song we liked, we'd turn up the volume all the way and likely bellow the lyrics ourselves, too. (Especially Motown songs. Darryl sang a legendary, "Ooh Baby, Baby", including falsetto parts.) Although Darryl was quiet, this morning was no different. I didn't know where he wanted to go, but usually we didn't start out with a specific destination anyway.
By now we were approaching The Interchange where drivers must choose a freeway from about six to follow. Darryl said, "Let's go to Chinatown", so we did. He directed me to park on the south end of the neighborhood, the opposite side from where the tourists go, on Alameda with train tracks at our backs. Now it's close to 4 AM and I'm curious.
I followed Darryl as he led me into what was the smallest and most inobtrusive cafe on the block. Even the light bulbs inside were blurred, and on the 4 or 5 benches, all the patrons were Chinese men 60 years old or more. The clothes they wore were not American, and maybe they were recent immigrants. No one spoke anything but Chinese, which I didn't understand, of course. Darryl understood some, but I could never tell how much. I don't think it interested him then.
He chose a bench where we sat down, and the proprietor seemed to recognize him. Maybe he'd read in the Chinese press that Dr. Chin had died. A waiter brought our tea immediately and I looked around the place. It was functional only, with only a couple of Chinese merchant calendars on the walls. Darryl was thoughtful now, pensive, and I kept quiet.
After a couple of minutes, a waiter brought us noodle dishes and Darryl ate mostly in silence. He turned to me after a moment and said softly, "This is where my dad took us when we were little kids."
There was nothing for me to say except, "Oh, OK". Our trip seemed mysterious to me now, profound and momentous. We finished our meal, paid our bill, and we walked back to the car in a gathering morning mist beside the railroad tracks. I don't remember if we came directly home to Fullerton, and I think we may have detoured to the beach and drove on Pacific Coast Highway for a while. I can't remember if we said anything, either.
We arrived at the Chin house on North Richman a while before dawn. Darryl invited me in, but by now I wanted to go back to Mom's house on South Basque to sleep.
I didn't see Darryl the next day or the one after, either. He and Jeff had arrangements to make for Dr. Chin, and family and friends to receive. I must have driven back up to my dorm room in Westwood, because in those days we thought nothing of driving distances, even to San Francisco. I don't remember hearing of funeral plans, and didn't go.
You see, I planned to see Darryl again soon. But I never did. I was occupied, and so was he in San Jose. Occasionally I'd hear a little something about the Chins from Craig Scott or his mom on El Camino, half a block south. Craig went to University of the Pacific then.
Months and then a year passed, and Mrs. Scott told me Mrs. Chin remarried and went to live in another state. I can't remember exactly when Jeff died, not without checking, but it wasn't a long time after. That was the end of the Chin family in Fullerton. No one I knew had a return address for Mrs. Chin.
I thought about Darryl often after that, and especially when I drove past San Jose, or heard songs we liked, or remembered girls he liked especially. I simply procrastinated, and I figured we'd get together eventually.
That early morning was the last time I saw him. He was majoring in art and psychology then, and he'd taken a class about mental retardation, apparently a class with an internship or a practicuum. He'd worked with some mentally retarded children, and felt his vocation at once. He told me that's what he wanted to do with his life, and it made good sense.. He was compassionate and cared about the underdog always.
I tried to find Darryl many times between then and 2012, and searched high and low on the Internet. The Chinese have what they call The One Hundred Names, and most Chinese have one of those names. "Chin" is one of the most popular of the one hundred. There were thousands of Darryl Chins. I gave up temporarily, started again later, and gave up again. Buck Young didn't know, Craig Scott didn't know -- no one I knew had any connection with Darryl any more.
When Eric Chang, '64 -- an old family friend of the Chins -- told me recently that Darryl had died, for some reason I wasn't too surprised. Maybe I've recorded too many deaths of classmates and our parents already in the SPOON. I certainly didn't expert Darryl to die so young, but I knew these things happened. I felt terribly sad about Darryl's wife and their children, and their friends. I know what a terrific human being they'd lost.
I feel sad about it now, remembering my old friend. There would have been so much to catch up on, and so many stories to tell and hear. Just to slug each other on the arm as we used to .. and laugh.
I'll always miss Darryl and love him. He was a unique friend, and a sweet gentleman. I don't exactly mean for this remembrance to have a moral at the end, but if there is one, it's to see your friends when you still can. Reach out to them and stay in touch.
Life is beautiful, people are wonderful, but we're all gone soon enough.