Dr. Lee Blasek was born in my grandparents’ house in Conshohocken on May 6, 1931. Not unusual for the time, but obviously out of the ordinary by today’s standards. He was a very bright child and as a result had skipped two grades in his K-12 education. Even at LaSalle University, he finished in just three years, entering Temple School of Dentistry at the young age of just 19.
After graduation from Temple, barely 23 years old, he went to the Navy and was stationed on the USS Atka as the dental officer for his tour of military service. It is through the Navy that he met my mother.
Dr. Lee Blaszczyk (yes, that was our original spelling, more later) then started his dental career in his first office above the Riant Movie Theater on Fayette Street in Conshohocken. I barely remember that office, but do remember getting my finger stuck in the movie theater’s huge glass doors with metal trim. His practice outgrew that small office and then the next one on Ridge Pike, close to REI, until he hired a contractor to convert an old house right off the corner of Ridge and Butler Pikes into his new office. That was going to be the office that he spent his dental career.
Then in 1971, Dr. Mulvey and my father started this practice in Maple Glen, located in the Maple Glen Professional Center. He worked out of both offices for a short time, until Dr. Mulvey got sick and retired. My father dedicated his time to Maple Glen and sold his other practice to Dr. Reese, who is still there today. On top of all of that, my father was also a dental professor at the dental clinic at Suburban General Hospital, where dental students would enhance their dental education.
I joined my father in 1984, where I was able to see first-hand how my father mixed technical excellence with compassion and empathy.
He also stressed the importance of continuing education and I listened. I graduated dental school in May and already started my continuing education before my license was official. His commitment to continuing education was embodied through his many years of participation in the Academy of General Dentistry, where he served as President for several of them.
Dr. Paul Laurito joined the practice on a part-time basis in the late 1990’s and eventually full-time in 1999, as my father started to reduce his time in the office, but his care for his patients never faded. He would always ask me how Mr. Smith or Mrs. Jones was doing, as well as how their dental treatment was functioning.
When we moved the office into its current location, my father brought in one of his prized orchids that had been displayed down at the Philadelphia Flower Show, but had to take it back after a week, because I almost killed it. I inherited many things from my father, but his green thumb was not one of them. He said I would be better off growing a cactus! Yes, growing orchids was another one of his passions.
Unfortunately, my father died on July 25, 2016 due to cancer. He was one of the most kind, compassionate, caring, and intelligent people you would ever want to meet. As a testament to that, our practice still has a large following from the areas of Conshohocken, Plymouth Meeting, Lafayette Hill, King of Prussia, Norristown, and Blue Bell because of him. Dr. Andrew Blasek, Dr. Laurito, and I continually strive to carry on his legacy every day in the care and compassion we deliver to all of our patients. That small-town doctor that knew all about you and your family, even in this age of computers and ever advancing technology, which makes it so much better today for dental treatment. There are still a large number of patients who have been in this practice longer than my 33 years and still tell me stories about my father that I never knew. Yes, he was also humble.
Thank you for taking the time to read this tribute to my father. I tried to keep it as brief as I could while still letting you know a little bit about the man who started this dental practice. I appreciate you knowing a little bit about the man that has been my role model.
Oh yes, I wanted to tell you about the spelling of our last name. Back in 1964, he went to the courthouse and had the legal spelling changed to what it is today, because it was too hard for people to try to pronounce. I was happy, because now my name could fit on one line when I would print it back in kindergarten.
Dr. Michael Blasek