History

   

The Vision of One Woman Creates a Community

       The Abbey at Westminster Plaza is an all-inclusive Luxury Senior Living Community serving the Memorial/West Houston areas. Located at the intersection of Richmond Avenue and Westminster Plaza Drive and two blocks west of the Royal Oaks Country Club, this beautiful community is strategically located within close proximity to shopping centers, restaurants, medical offices and nearby hospitals. This master planned community for senior adults was developed by Founder’s Commercial, Ltd, a family owned business with a long and distinguished history in health care.
It all began over a half century ago with a courageous woman, Mrs. Ottis Lake of Jacksonville, Texas. As a professional nurse, she dedicated her life to seeing that those needing nursing and assistance would receive the best care available that she could provide. This lifelong ambition meant a great deal of personal sacrifices on her part, including working many long and strenuous hours with little pay. For instance, to obtain her nurse’s license she had to hold down more than one job while caring for a local physician’s mother in her own home and as a single parent, providing a livelihood for her four small children.

Mrs. Lake’s commitment was premised on her belief that she had received a divine calling to build and provide the very best nursing facility, during a time when many of the destitute were being housed in little more than shanties and even chicken coups. After opening her first facility, she and a handful of her colleagues successfully lobbied the State Legislature in Austin for minimum standards and licensing regulations. Her high expectations helped to establish an historic benchmark for care for the elderly and the infirmed.

Her dream encompassed everyone who needed care, regardless of the person’s situation in life. Many who were poor and alone came to her door without being turned away, some needed clothing or incidentals, which she would provide. There were even times when a patient died with no one to handle the funeral arrangement; she would make the necessary funeral arrangements herself.

With an outstanding reputation for her loving care, the very first facility she opened quickly reached full capacity. As a result, many had to be turned away, and this was long before Medicare and Medicaid when government assistance for those needing care was unavailable. Still Mrs. Lake’s lifelong ambition would not be denied. Through the contact of a local Jacksonville attorney, she was introduced to Mr. J. Burns Brown, a prominent Tyler oilman. With the help of him and his wife, she would be able to realize further her dream to open a very high-class care facility. Although it would only be licensed for 54 beds, which is considered small by today’s standard, at the time it was thought to be one of the largest and finest in East Texas. The facility contained among other things, a chapel, beauty/ barber shop, treatment, physical therapy, isolation rooms and a physician’s office. When Medicare began in 1966, it became one of the very first in the State to be certified for participation.

With the on-rush of residents and the need to maintain her focus on nursing, Mrs. Lake asked her youngest son, a law student to commute his last year and half of law school in order that more of his and the family’s time and effort could be devoted to the expanding business. As before, it wasn’t long that word spread about the excellent care being provided by Mrs. Lake’s newest facility, and again, many needing care were being turned away. By this time her other son had also joined the business. The family commenced plans to build another new facility; one to be almost three times as large and with many unique and excellent features, placing it among the elite of the day.

Mrs. Ottis Lake
Mrs. Lake’s commitment to excellence, her passion and care for the elderly has been successfully passed on to her children. After she retired, her oldest son became an administrator of a local hospital devoting his time, talents, and energies to continue the dream of providing the best care available in a hospital setting. Meanwhile, her youngest son had also been active pursuing the dream. He is the founder of American Health Services, Inc., which is general partner of Founder’s Commercial, Ltd. American Health Services, Inc. has owned and operated health care facilities in Tyler, Longview, and Beaumont, each one distinctly carrying on the tradition of excellence begun by Mrs. Lake over half a century ago.The story would not be complete without mentioning what happened to Mr. J. Burns Brown and his family. Mr. Brown passed away in 1983 after a long and successful career as an oilman and businessman. His family and the Lake family have remained close friends and business associates through all these years, and, you’ve probably guessed it, are partners and investors in The Abbey at Westminster Plaza, “A Senior Living Community.”Come by and see “the dream” firsthand.

Our newest phase of Independent Living is now complete. This new addition will be adjacent to the already established Assisted Living and Memory Enhancement Community which was developed in 2000. The Independent Living Community will consist of 144 Luxury apartments featuring granite counter tops throughout, large walk-in shower and garden tub, stainless steel appliances, washer and dryer, wood floors, crown molding and spacious closets. Amenities include restaurant-style dining (three meals per day, seven days per week), indoor heated pool and spa, outdoor kitchen, sports lounge, home theatre, wood working shop, 24 hour concierge/security, parking garage and dog park. The Center for Wellness features an indoor track, gym, rehab services and hydro-therapy pool.Please contact Barbara McMahan-Cage for further information at 281-556-6020. For a personal tour, visit our “Dream Come True” Community at 2865 Westminster Plaza Drive or take a virtual tour at home.abbeywp.com.