Mary M. Chinn

MENDOTA – Mary Michele (Mainous) Chinn, 71, of Mendota, passed away on Nov. 12, 2023, just days shy of her 72nd birthday.

A wake will be held at the Mendota Civic Center on Sunday, Nov. 19, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. A memorial service will be scheduled for a later date.

Mary was born Nov. 15, 1951, in Chicago. She was raised by her two loving parents, Bruce and Ruth Mainous, in Urbana. Mary attended Urbana High School, graduating in 1968 after only three years. After graduation, at the age of 16, she moved to Paris, France. She continued to live there for the next 11 years, and gave birth to her two daughters, Alicia and Paule, before moving back to Illinois.

Mary is survived by her husband, Bob Chinn of Mendota; her daughters, Alicia (Erin) Verdier of Houston, Texas, and Paule Verdier of Evanston; step-sons, Rob (Laura) Chinn of Lapel, Ind., Chris (Mae) Chinn, of Los Angeles, Calif., and Patrick (Joanna) Chinn of Downs; sisters Martha (Gary) Doughtery and Nancy (Paul) Mitchell; brother Lowell (Laura) Gentry; mother Barbara Cox Palmer; and grandchildren, Hannah (Austin) Crouse, Aidan Drury, Meredith Hammonds, Maeve Chinn, Henry Chinn, Isaac Chinn, Noah Chinn, and Ezra Chinn, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Bruce Mainous and Ruth (Daugherty) Mainous Urbana, and Spencer Gentry of Polo.

Mary started working for the University of Illinois and began taking undergraduate classes as a non-academic employee. As an undergrad student, Mary also was the leader of her beloved Girl Scout Troop 94, the PTA president at her daughters’ elementary school, and always home to put the girls on the bus and meet them after school. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry in 1989, with her sustained academic achievements being recognized with placement of her name added to the University of Illinois Bronze Tablet. She was then accepted to the University of Illinois Medical School. In 1991, she met and fell in love with Bob Chinn. They shared their love of canoeing and hiking together, and a year later, were married. Mary completed her medical school program in 1993, and then went on to do her residency in rural family practice at Union Hospital in Terre Haute, Ind. In 1996, Mary began her practice in Mendota, where she continued to work for the next 27 years.

Anyone who ever met Mary knew that she could do anything she set her mind to do. She could create anything with her hands, from sewing to knitting to jewelry making to refinishing furniture. Mary always enjoyed making music, whether it be singing or playing the guitar and ukulele. She had a love for gardening and cooking. Mary loved the outdoors, hiking, and backpacking, spending the majority of her vacation time visiting their second home near Glacier National Park in Montana.

Most of all, Mary loved helping people. She was an immensely generous person, always ready to lend a hand in any way needed. She cared for her patients like they were her family, always ready to do a house call at any hour. And Mary was loved by her patients, in return. In 2015, she was awarded the Physician of Excellence Award by the Illinois Rural Health Association, and Illinois Legislature, in recognition of her outstanding achievements as a physician - a true testament to her unending dedication as a family practice doctor.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mary Chinn Memorial Fund, which is dedicated to continuing Mary’s lifelong desire to support others in need. Condolences may be left at