Ritzman Family Gift Passes the Torch to Future Generations

Vernon Ritzman, MD, cared for the Wheat Ridge community for over 40 years through his family medicine practice. Starting his career in 1966 at Denver General Hospital, now Denver Health, Ritzman then served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam war.  

He joined Lutheran Medical Center’s medical staff in 1970. In 2010, he retired and was inducted as a Lutheran Honorary Staff Member, recognizing his leadership and dedication to providing excellent patient care. 

To continue Lutheran’s legacy, of which Ritzman was an integral part, the Ritzman family has donated $1 million to name the Education Center at the replacement hospital at Clear Creek Crossing, which is slated to open in late 2024, and created an endowment to support continuing medical education programs in perpetuity.  

“With this gift, our family aims to provide financial support for a vigorous program of continuing medical education of not only physicians, nurses, and allied healthcare members, but also hospital volunteers and community members” Ritzman said. “In today’s technology-based world requiring less face-to-face interactions, we value bringing people together to learn about advancements and current challenges in medicine at the Education Center in the new Lutheran.”  

Reflecting on his career and legacy, Ritzman recounts some of the most gratifying as establishing an infant car-seat program at the hospital, improving colon cancer screenings, helping the Clear Creek Valley Medical Society with the first “Medi Fair,” which would later become the 9Health Fair, and helping to raise more than $160,000 toward opening Collier Hospice at Lutheran. 

During his career, Ritzman devoted significant time serving in various leadership roles, such as the Family Medicine Department Chair, Family Practice Audit Chair, Quality Committee Chair, Medical Staff President for two years, and Chair of the Community First Foundation for six years.  

Ritzman has generously contributed his time, expertise, and resources to ensure Lutheran delivers the highest quality of care possible and maintains its position as the superior healthcare facility on the west side. 

Having witnessed the ever-evolving landscape and technologies within healthcare and medicine, Ritzman recognizes the importance of building a state-of-the-art replacement hospital to be well-equipped to address the future of medicine. Touring the new facility allowed him and his family to see firsthand Lutheran’s commitment to caring for the community for the next 100 years.  

The Ritzman family understands the significance of continuing education opportunities necessary for Lutheran to remain a premier healthcare provider, offering the most advanced practices. The family also seeks to inspire and encourage others to get involved and join fundraising efforts to support this vital community asset.  

Ritzman’s inspiration for his philanthropic endeavors comes from William Penn: “I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”  

At Lutheran, we are grateful that Dr. Ritzman passed through our community and chose to enrich it with his unwavering dedication, enthusiasm, and support, passing it on for generations to come. 

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