The 1920s saw a decline in the number private hospitals due to the high cost of improving technology and governmental regulation. Dr. Lee’s advancing age and the changes in the medical field spelled the eventual demise of his hospital. Dr. Lee’s death on January 12, 1926 was a tremendous loss to the hospital staff. John Lee’s courage, strength, and visionary leadership left an irreplaceable void. Dr. Lee’s wife, Carrie, carried on as Director of the hospital after his death. By the fall of 1927, the executors of Lee’s will decided to sell the property. It was their hope that Dr. Lee’s work would continue.
Dr. Charles C. Teresi had been a member of the visiting staff while maintaining his own practice at 413 North Street in Rochester. Teresi purchased the hospital on October 1, 1927 and changed the name to the Lake Avenue Hospital. As a life-long bachelor, Charles Teresi would devote the remainder of his life working at the hospital in the service to his family and patients.
The hospital would prosper for the next few years, but the looming clouds of the approaching financial crisis would soon blow the winds of change, forcing the Lake Avenue Hospital to adapt to the challenging conditions of the Great Depression.
On 30 March 1932, the Rochester Trust and Safe Deposit Company foreclosed on Teresi’s mortgage. Although Teresi had lost legal custody of the property, he refused to vacate and continued his practice. The property was eventually sold to Frank Pisciotta in August 1939.
Twelve years later, on November 27, 1951, Harold Teresi, Francis J. Allenza, and Joseph R. Paprocki formed the company 179 Lake Avenue Inc. and within one month, had bought back the hospital from Frank Pisciotta. The next ten years would be the most productive years of the hospital. Doctor Teresi’s steadfast dedication to the hospital and his patients and his financial resourcefulness allowed him to remain on the premises from its debut in 1928 until his death in 1961.
The Doctor enjoyed the respect and patronage of a large private practice. His immigrant background endeared him to many members of Rochester’s large Italian-American community. The values of loyalty, dedication to his family, and commitment to the community would prove to be Dr. Teresi’s lasting legacy.