Longview philanthropist Tom Chinn remembered for generosity, kindness

Mayor Andy Mack, right, presents Tom and Jill Chinn with a Go-Giver Award at the first Go-Giver Gala in January 2018.

Longview oil company owner and philanthropist Tom Chinn will be remembered for his generosity, kindness and faith, his family and friends say.

Chinn died Thursday at age 62 after losing a long battle with cancer.

“He has been a very nice, generous citizen for the city of Longview,” Mayor Andy Mack said Tuesday. “He has helped law enforcement to make them safer, which then makes them better servants to the community, which makes them all safe.”

Mack said he has known Chinn for more than 40 years and recalled watching him play golf. Mack and real estate broker Julie Woods named Chinn and his wife, Jill, among the recipients of the first Go-Giver Gala awards in January 2018.

Woods said at the time that the Chinns donated body cameras and ballistic vests to Longview police after Tom Chinn struck up a conversation with police officers at IHOP. The Chinns said at the time that they responded by donating 190 body cameras and a number of vests to Longview police and the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office.

Chinn owned Chinn Exploration Co., where office manager Kathy Boyce has worked for 37 years.

Boyce said Chinn was “one of the finest, most generous” people she has ever known. She said Chinn treated everybody the same.

“He was the kind who if you saw a need, he met it,” Boyce said. “He was more like a brother to me than a boss.”

She described Chinn as deeply religious and who encouraged others to follow the Lord.

Chinn’s brother, Bo, concurred, saying, “Tom was just an amazing man of God. He loved God; he loved his wife; he loved his family; and he loved his friends.”

Bo Chinn said his brother had friends wherever he went.

“It did not matter whether you were the CEO or a janitor,” Bo Chinn said.

Tom Chinn was born June 13, 1957, in Houston, the son of Kenneth and Janet Chinn, his brother said. His mother hailed from Longview, and he moved to Longview with his family by the age of 2.

Chinn graduated from Kilgore High School and attended East Texas State University, the former name of Texas A&M University-Commerce, on a golf scholarship, Bo Chinn said.

Bo Chinn said his brother worked in the oil and natural gas industry for at least 35 years.

He is survived by his wife, Jill; his son, Blake, of Fort Worth; and brothers, Bo and Ken, of Longview and sister, Patty Washburn of Lindale.

A celebration of life for Chinn is scheduled for Dec. 5 at Pinecrest Country Club, 214 Club Drive, Longview. The family will receive friends from 4 to 6 p.m., with services following.