Oak Bluffs couple bequeathed houses, assets to Island non-profits

Two houses and all assets go to Island groups after the death of Lorraine Pinckney.

The Pinckney house.

Lorraine and Napoleon Pinckney moved to Oak Bluffs full time in 1996 after vacationing on the Vineyard for many years. Mr. Pinckney, a professor of microbiology, parasitology, and clinical chemistry at New York Community College, died in 2010 at the age of 90. Ms. Pinckney died in July at the age of 75. The couple had no children, but in spirit they adopted the Island.

Last week, several Island nonprofits learned that they were the beneficiaries of the Pinckney estate. The Island Housing Trust (IHT), an nonprofit that develops affordable housing, was informed that it would receive one of two houses the couple owned in Oak Bluffs.

The Pinckney estate left a second Oak Bluffs house to Island Elderly Housing, a nonprofit that manages affordable rental apartments for the Island’s low-income elderly and disabled. They left their personal property to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services. Other assets will be distributed to those groups as well as an Island nursing association, Ms. Pinckney’s brother, John Dombrow, told The Times in a conversation from his home in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

“They had no children and no heirs,” Mr. Dombrow said. “They were frugal and generous people who loved the Vineyard. I know they decided to leave everything to the Island several years ago.”

The Pinckneys moved to the Island after Mr. Pinckney, known as “Nap,” retired. Ms. Pinckney, a registered nurse, went to work for the MVCS visiting nurse service. She retired in 2008 but continued serving the Island community as a volunteer for Island Elderly Housing and the Meals on Wheels program.

The Pinckneys purchased a house in Oak Bluffs before moving to the Vineyard and purchased a second soon after they arrived. “They did most of the maintenance work themselves,” Mr. Dobrow said. “She was heavily into projects and tools. She was a charter member of the Handyman Club of America, and the Craftsman Club. She was also a volunteer with the Surgeon General’s Medical Reserve Corps.”

“It came as a complete surprise,” said IHT executive director Philippe Jordi. “We have no immediate plans to use the house. It will have to be inspected and assessed before we can even begin to think about what we will do with it. We are extremely grateful to both Nap and Lorrie Pinckney for their incredibly generous gift to the Island community.”