Yaffe Pharmacy Legacy Lives on in Scholarship

In 1973, when Leslie [Yaffe] Solomon was 32, her father’s Potomac, Md., community pharmacy burned to the ground. To the Yaffe family, it was more than just a building. For Morris and his wife, Edna, and their children, Leslie, Bruce, and Samuel Yaffe, the pharmacy was like a member of the family.

Morris YaffeWhile they were waiting for the store to be rebuilt, the Yaffe family set up a trailer on the site to dispense prescriptions.

For the Yaffe children, the Potomac Village Pharmacy was as much about their father – and the summers they spent stocking shelves and working the counter – as it was about the family business.

“The fire was traumatic for us,” says Leslie. “The drug store was another part of the family. It was a big part of our lives.” Seven years later, Morris Yaffe, suffering from heart disease, died at the age of 67.

Today, to commemorate Yaffe’s commitment to pharmacy – a commitment that included his service as president and member of the Maryland Board of Pharmacy – his children are establishing a scholarship in his name.

“My father was very active in the pharmacy community, and he was very involved with students,” says Bruce. “He would have wanted to help students obtain their degrees.”

When it is fully funded in approximately five years with $25,000, the Morris R. Yaffe Scholarship Endowment will be awarded to students in the School of Pharmacy either through a merit-based system or on the basis of financial need.

For the Yaffe children, establishing the scholarship is the realization of a long-term dream that began 10 years ago. To Bruce, who worked in his father’s community pharmacy during the summers and managed the store after it burned, establishing the scholarship is something he wasn’t sure was possible.

Initially, the task seemed too expensive and complicated. “We thought you had to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that it was something only rich and famous people could do,” adds Leslie. “But now I realize it’s the perfect thing to do. My father would be really pleased.”

Morris Yaffe graduated from the School of Pharmacy in 1936. After a short stint working for a pharmacist in downtown Washington, DC, and then working for his brother, also a pharmacist, Yaffe opened his first pharmacy, Parkway Pharmacy, in Bethesda, Md. In 1956, an opportunity arose to open Potomac Village, where he quickly became an integral part of the community.

“Doc,” as he was known by all, wouldn’t hesitate to make prescription deliveries to sick customers in snowstorms or even after hours. He frequently visited area elementary schools and churches to lecture on drug use and abuse.

Leslie recalls how much her father enjoyed serving people. An amateur chef, Yaffe also hosted dinner parties for his clients, and Leslie would provide the homemade desserts.

“My dad loved his profession. He believed his job was to take care of people,” she says.