Rosewood-Kellum Funeral Home & Rosewood Memorial Park

601 North Witchduck Road, Virginia Beach, VA


Charlie L. Yates

April 8, 1936August 11, 2010

Norfolk – Charlie Lee Yates, 74, passed away after a long battle with Leukemia on August 11, 2010. He was born on April 8, 1936 to the late Charlie Clarence and Agnes Sharp Yates in Harrellsville, NC.

After graduating from Booker T. High School in Norfolk, VA, he attended VPI and was the first Black to graduate with honors. In 1958, he became the first African American to graduate from Virginia Tech. Yates earned master’s and Ph.D. degrees and worked for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory from 1960-1979 as the lab’s first black professional. He returned to his alma mater as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, leaving in 1983 to teach for four years in colleges in eastern Virginia. But he maintained contact with Virginia Tech by serving on the board of visitors. He returned to the school in 1987 as an associate professor of aerospace and ocean engineering, remaining until his retirement in 2000, when he was named professor emeritus. He was a member of the Hampton Roads Church since April 23, 2003.

Charlie is survived by his caring wife, B. Percilla Logan Yates; daughters; Linda Worsley of Richmond, VA, Michelle Davis (Darrell) of Fairfax, VA, and Tracy Conyers (Brian) of Elksridge, MD; step-daughter, Raina Greene (Bernard) of Richmond, VA; sons, Adrien (Jaenice) of Tacoma, WA and Christopher (Gwendolyn) of Ellicott City, MD;8 granddaughters; 2 grandsons.; 6 great-grandchildren; brother, Thomas B. Yates (Edna); sisters, Bernice Hill (Nat) and Myrtle Yates of Virginia Beach; one uncle, James B. Sharp (Laura); and numerous relatives, classmates and acquaintances.

A funeral service will be held at 10:30 am on Monday, August 16, 2010 at Rosewood Kellum Funeral Home, burial will follow at Rosewood Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 6 – 8 pm on Sunday at the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to the Leukemia Society of America or Charlie Yates Scholarship Fund at Virginia Tech. You may offer condolences to the family at www.kellumfuneralhome.com.


  • Visitation Sunday, August 15, 2010
  • Visitation: Sunday, August 15, 2010 6-8 PM Sunday, August 15, 2010
  • Funeral Service Monday, August 16, 2010
  • Burial Monday, August 16, 2010


Charlie L. Yates

have a memory or condolence to add?

Greg Sheppard

October 5, 2010

My deepest condolences go out to the Yates family.

I had the pleasure of being a student in one of Dr. Yates's classes while completing my B.S. in aerospace engineering at Virginia Tech. I always admired him for not only his hard work and intelligence, but for serving as a role model for me and many other African American students like me at Virginia Tech and the other universities and schools where he worked. Beyond that, Prof. Yates was also a very kind man with a warm smile that often comforted me when I felt I couldn't go on.

Greg Sheppard, Virginia Tech '93 (Aerospace Engineering)

Joe Mitchell

August 25, 2010

Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.

Wendy Felix

August 24, 2010

My prayers to you and your family. It was a revelation to read about your father's role and contributions to United States history. He certainly left a legacy for all to remember.
Continue to cherish the beautiful memories you and your dad shared.
Wendy Felix

marilyn richardson

August 23, 2010

Mrs. Yates and Family,
My deepest condolences to you and your family. Your husband was and continues to be an inspiration for the African Americans who attended VT and for those who will attend in the future. We recognize the trials and tribulations that he endured and the paving of the road for other AA students. He served as a role model for us all. May God keep you strong in this most difficult time. Marilyn Richardson, Class of 1977

Pamela Shields

August 22, 2010

Tracey and family,
My deepest condolences for you and your family. I know this was a great loss, but remember god will not put anymore on you than you can bear. Just know that I am always here with a listening ear and shoulder for you, if you ever need me.

August 16, 2010

Michelle, Tracy & Chris:
My prayers and thoughts are with each of you as you mourn the loss of your father. I apologize for not being able to attend the services.

Love always, Cousin Curtis, Jr.

August 16, 2010

Dear Tracy and family, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during these difficult days. God remains yet faithful and is more than able to carry you through this chapter of your life. Cherish the memories of your father and take solace in the fact that this separation is only temporary...for you will indeed see him again. God Bless, Craig, Sharon, Rachel, and Jonathan Conyers (Murfreesboro, TN)

Sherryl & Ben Jacobs

August 16, 2010

Dear Adrian and the rest of the Yates family,

I am so sorry that you have lost your loved one, Charlie. He has fought a good fight and is now resting with God. I pray that you will find peace in the happy memories that you've shared with Charlie and each other. God bless and keep each of you.

Adrian's sister and brother-in-law

August 15, 2010

Our hearts go out to you, as we are aware that this is a most difficult time for the entire family. You have our sympathy, and our prayers are with you.
Kenneth, Fannie and Olivia (Enterprise, Al)

August 15, 2010

My prayers are with you and your family. Your dad fought a good fight and he is now resting in God's arms . Cherish the happy moments and thank God for sharing him with your family.
Sheryl Conyers Holmes


Charlie L. Yates, Ph.D.