FORT PIERCE FOLKS
“Living well in old age
and not just living
to old age”
State of the Art Active Adult Living
With all Amenities & Assistance as needed
Including Elite Memory Care &
Life Enrichment ActivityProgramming
Call today to learn how our Residents
are “Living well in old age and
not just living to old age”
Visit today and see how our Residents
are Living & Loving Life at
Assisted Living & Memory Care
1550 N. Lawnwood Circle
Fort Pierce, FL 34950
which means, he explains with a twinkle in his eye, that he
now works there “40 hours a week instead of 80.”
The warmth of Yates’ characteristic grin puts old friends
and strangers at ease — even in the midst of grief. Nothing
chases away tears like laughter, they say.
Although Yates considers landing a big snapper or
watching turkeys roost in the piney backwoods equally
“Billy’s a world-class fisherman,” says Fort Pierce lawyer
Frank “Speedy” Fee, a long time friend and neighbor of Yates.
“After they moved to Indian River Drive, he became a real
river rat. He’ll fish for anything, but grouper and snapper are
Capt. Sam Crutchfield, a Fort Pierce fisherman of some
renown himself, agrees — with reservations.
“He’s a natural fisherman, but his first love is just to take
a cane pole and fish for crappie or speckled perch,” says
Crutchfield, who roomed with Yates when the two were bachelors.
“That’s because he can do that while he drinks beer.”
Yates can also take a joke, Crutchfield says, even when the
joke’s on him. “My dad and I took him on a hunting trip to
North Florida when he was about 21 and taught him how
to get swamp cabbage,” Crutchfield says. The Crutchfields
gave Yates a shovel and told him he had to dig up a 10-foot
sabal palm rather than chop off the top to get at its heart. “We
walked off in the woods and watched until he caught on,”
Crutchfield says, chuckling. “He just said, ‘I been had,’ and
thought it was a great joke. He’s a very unique individual.
Everybody has one best friend, and I was just lucky enough
to have Billy.”
Yates considers his long career serving hometown folks a
blessing. “I think it helps when you know the people and you
have some background,” he says. “But children’s funerals
are always the most difficult — maybe because my wife and
I lost a 4-year-old son. The toughest thing is to try and tell a
mother that there has to be a closed casket.”
He always finds solace in the Scriptures and in the Presbyterian
values on which he was reared. But, he says with a
sense of pride, “I can also recite the Kaddish,” the traditional
Jewish prayer of mourning.
Name: Joseph W. “Bill” Yates, Jr.
Family: Wife of 43 years, Betsy;
daughter, Elizabeth Jefferson, 37,
of St. Lucie Village; grandson,
William Bradlee Jefferson,
Education: Graduate of Miami-
Dade Mortuary Science Program, 1966.
Personal philosophy: The Golden Rule
Goal: “To take my grandson fishing.”
What most people don’t know about me:
“I am computer illiterate; I’m the old
dinosaur at my office.”