Benedictine Living Community-LaMoure Celebrates 50 Years of Serving Our CommunityAugust 16, 2022
April 1972 marks several notable events in our country, including the Apollo 16 mission to the Moon, the broadcast of the final, original episode of the popular TV show “My Three Sons,” and the introduction by Polaroid of photographs that developed “right before your eyes.”
Most memorable in our city that month was the opening of Colonial Manor nursing home, which still lives on today as Benedictine Living Community-LaMoure.
Colonial Manor was an intermediate care nursing home located on the city block once occupied by LaMoure Public High School. It was owned and operated by C.M. Corporation of Sioux City, Iowa.
By 1982, Colonial Manor had a total of 45 employees, consisting of nursing, dietary, housekeeping, laundry, activity and social services, and maintenance departments, along with an administrator and secretary/receptionist. In 1989, the faith-based nonprofit Benedictine Health System purchased six North Dakota nursing homes from Beverly Enterprises, a nursing home provider at the time. Among these was Colonial Manor of LaMoure, as well as the nearby Ellendale Nursing Center.
Betty Henrikson’s connection with the facility has come full circle – she worked at Colonial Manor as her first job right out of nursing school, and now resides at Benedictine St. Rose. Betty became a nurse later in life, explaining, “When my youngest child went off to college, so did I.”
Betty was good friends with Mertice (Mert) Rood. Mert had told Betty that Colonial Manor was opening in LaMoure and she would hold a position for her until Betty finished nursing school. Betty worked at Colonial Manor as one of its first registered nurses for about five years before her family moved out of state and she took a job at a hospital in the operating room.
Betty recalls that the first 13 residents admitted to Colonial Manor were from the North Dakota State Hospital in Jamestown. Later, residents were people who lived in and around the LaMoure area, including her father-in-law and his three siblings who were all residents at the same time. Now, residents come from the LaMoure area and around the state.
When comparing the nursing home 50 years ago to now, Betty said the big difference she sees is “more people everywhere” – more people living as residents at St. Rose, and more people working at the center. She said when she started, they had very few staff and she is amazed at how it’s grown. Betty enjoyed her time working at the facility in its early days and is now happy to call St. Rose “home.”
Colonial Manor’s name was changed to LaMoure Healthcare Manor in 1989 and then to St. Rose Care Center in 1998. The center continued to expand its offerings, with home care added around 2002, and Rosewood Court assisted living opening in 2003 through a partnership with the Benedictine Health System and LaMoure Community Development. In 2005, construction began on a new special care unit for those with Alzheimer’s/dementia.
There are several current employees who have long-standing ties to the senior care center including Rosi Zimbleman, Jeri Jo Alber, Marcia Dunn and Naomi Grueneich.
Rosi begin her career with Benedictine in 1992 as a social worker at Prince of Peace Care Center and Evergreen Place in Ellendale (now Benedictine Living Community-Ellendale). In 2002, Rosi joined St. Rose Care Center and has served in a variety of positions since, including social service director, staff education coordinator, Mission coordinator and marketing coordinator. She currently works at the center as human resource/health information coordinator. She has worked for Benedictine for 30 years, the longest of any Benedictine employee in the area with 20 of those years at St. Rose.
“At the start of my career, I would have never anticipated to be here 30 years later. Through all the years of change, challenges and growth, I’ve always believed in the Benedictine mission of service to others and know that has been a driving force in my continued employment. The encouragement and support for ongoing professional and personal development during my tenure has been immeasurable,” explained Zimbleman. “Benedictine has provided many opportunities for growth and change during my career and empowered me to make a difference in the lives of those I’ve had the privilege to serve. It’s been quite a journey and I am very grateful.”
Jeri Jo Alber is currently the head of housekeeping at both St. Rose and Rosewood Court, and also manages laundry and purchasing. She has been a St. Rose employee for 29 years. She is the longest-serving employee at St. Rose and has been fortunate to work where both of her parents have lived.
Marcia Dunn was the manager of Rosewood Court assisted living when it first opened in June 2003. She has worked for the center for 20 years and is still an employee at St. Rose, previously working as a medication aide and now assisting with wellness and transportation. She still visits Rosewood Court for trivia on occasion, much to the delight of the tenants. While noting many changes over the years, Dunn stated, “LaMoure is lucky to have this place and the people who dedicate their time here.”
Naomi (Riddle) Grueneich started with St. Rose Care Center in 1997, first in home health and then in the business office. She became the assistant administrator of St. Rose Care Center in 2000, and served as administrator from 2006 to 2008. Naomi currently serves as executive director of Benedictine Living Community-Ellendale and most recently stepped in as the interim executive director to cover maternity leave for Kelsey Peterson.
Today, St. Rose Care Center is known as Benedictine Living Community-LaMoure. It continues to provide a full “continuum of care” including long-term care, short-term care/rehabilitation, memory care and Rosewood Court assisted living.
Benedictine LaMoure also features a therapy department offering speech, physical and occupational therapy as well as specialties like lymphedema care. Inpatient therapy is provided to Benedictine LaMoure residents, and outpatient therapy is available to people in the greater LaMoure area.
Other offerings include the Benedictine Home Health program, which provides services in the comfort of one’s own home including skilled nursing care; personal care such as bathing, grooming and exercise; homemaker and companion services such as assisting with housekeeping, cooking, cleaning, laundry and errands; and physical, speech and occupational therapy. The program is available to those living in LaMoure, Dickey, Richland, Ransom and Sargent counties.
While the facility has grown in staff and services over the years, some things have remained the same. The 1982 LaMoure Centennial Book states, “Colonial Manor is supported by many outside groups. The volunteer and auxiliary members provide many devoted hours of services, along with the clergy who provide worship services and Bible study on a weekly basis. The community at large also provides help and shows interest in Colonial Manor by their continued support.”
This outstanding support from the LaMoure community remains true today and has contributed to the center’s longevity in helping our loved ones and neighbors stay “local” and age in a community they love and call home.
“Benedictine LaMoure has contributed many beneficial and crucial services to the community over its 50 years,” said Kelsey Peterson, executive director of Benedictine LaMoure. “Along with needed services, it’s provided many valuable jobs to community members of all ages which have supported our local economy.
“With the support of our community, Benedictine LaMoure will continue to serve its residents so they can maintain as much independence as possible and remain in our area throughout their lives,” Peterson added.
“For 50 years, Benedictine Living Community-LaMoure has been filling a need of caring for aging adults. Its tradition of compassionate, quality care has been strong throughout the years. Thank you to all who work or have worked at Benedictine LaMoure, as well as all who have offered support, to help create and continue this tradition,” stated Taylar Hack, operations vice president for Benedictine, who is an Ellendale native.