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Walking Aid

History of
Columbine Health Systems

1970, Bob Wilson joined a construction crew working on an addition to the Columbine Care Center on Parker Street in Fort Collins. Bob discovered he really enjoyed interacting with the residents and took a job as maintenance man for the facility. However, the facility soon fell into bankruptcy and those handling the receivership hired Bob to become administrator of the failing facility.

Bob borrowed a suit coat and cut his hair and went to work as the administrator. Within six months, Bob had begun to turn the facility around and was able to gather together enough money to purchase the facility. The rest, as they say, is history.

Bob's family was also very active in the organization's success. Lloyd Wilson, Bob's dad, helped with the accounting and his mom, Stella Wilson, helped in dozens of ways, including sewing curtains for the resident rooms.

Starting with one 120-bed nursing home in 1971, Columbine Health Systems now includes 478-nursing home beds in five facilities, in three communities, spread over two counties. In addition, Columbine operates 215 assisted living apartments, 307 independent living apartments and 68 patio homes. Columbine cares for 150+ home care clients and currently looks after 30 non-medical home care clients and 250 infusion clients.

The facility, Columbine Care Center, began with 48 beds, then remodeled and expanded to a total of 120 beds. There were only 35 employees in the early days, most of them women from nearby farms who came into town to work at the nursing home.

Today, Columbine Health Systems operates two patio home communities, four independent living facilities, three assisted living facilities, and four skilled nursing facilities in Fort Collins, Loveland, and Windsor. Also serving those communities are Columbine Medical Equipment, Columbine Poudre Home Care/ Bloom at Home, Poudre Infusion Therapy, and Centre Pharmacy. Fleet Transportation Services and the Columbine Distribution Centre serve the residents and facilities of Columbine.


Columbine employs over 1,650 people who care for over 1,450 people each day. Most of the clients have lived, worked, or retired to the area. Some have moved to the area so their children could more easily look after them. Many moved to the area by their family because they knew the care provided by Columbine is superior to where they lived previously.

Columbine employs over 1,650 people who care for over 1,450 people each day. Most of the clients have lived, worked or retired to the area, or moved to the area so their children could more easily look after them.

One of Bob's goals is to introduce young people to Gerontology. He worked with Brad Sheaffor in the Social Work Department at Colorado State University in the early '70's to provide internship opportunities for students at Columbine Care Center. Today, Bob sponsors scholarships for employees and students in nursing and gerontology. In addition, Columbine hosts student interns in human development, CNA, LPN and RN programs, social work, exercise sports science, pharmacy, pre-OT, public health, health care administration, and pre-med each semester.

Northern Colorado has been very supportive of Columbine Health Systems over the years and this generosity is repaid through many contributions to numerous organizations and individuals in the community. Bob and his wife, Kitty, established the Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging in the Health & Medical Center building on the campus of Colorado State University.

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