Yates family leaves $1 million bequest to Island scholarship fund

Margaret Pinto Yates died in April at age 103.

Margaret A. (Pinto) Yates died at Atria Woodbriar Assisted Living in Falmouth on April 5 at the age of 103. Although Falmouth had been her home for the past several years, Mrs. Yates, who was born at her family home in Vineyard Haven, never forgot her Island home, where she and her husband George owned Yates Drug Store on Main Street, Vineyard Haven, from 1944 until their retirement in 1969.

Last week, the Permanent Endowment Fund of Martha’s Vineyard learned that Mrs. Yates had left $1 million for a scholarship to be called the George R. Yates and Margaret A. Yates Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The endowment will award scholarships to graduates of Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, with a preference for students interested in pursuing higher education in health-related fields such as nursing and pharmacy, according to a press release.

“We are thrilled that Mrs. Yates has chosen the Permanent Endowment Fund to carry out her vision of helping the youth of Martha’s Vineyard,” Emily Bramhall, chairman of the Permanent Endowment Fund, said in the release. “The Yates were important members of this community, who provided a vital service to its residents. We are honored by the confidence they have placed in the Endowment to fulfill their legacy. We look forward to stewarding the memory of Margaret’s life, making sure she and her husband remain in the hearts and minds of our alumni community in perpetuity.”

Margaret was a graduate of the Truesdale Hospital nursing program, and her husband George was a graduate of Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. In March 1944 they purchased Tilton’s Drug Store on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, renaming the business Yates’ Drug Store, where the couple were fixtures in the community until their retirement in 1969.

“It was kind of amazing, it was just out of the blue,” Emily Bramhall, chairman of the Permanent Endowment Fund, told The Times Wednesday. “At the end of last week I got a call something was going to be coming to us. It’s just really lovely. And to think she lived in Falmouth since 1981, but the Island was what she was thinking about.”

The Permanent Endowment Fund for Martha’s Vineyard serves as the Island’s community foundation. The endowment has grown from an initial bequest of $60,000 to more than $10 million in assets under management. For more information, go to endowmv.org, or call 508-338-4665.