TOWN OF SHERMAN, N.Y. (WIVB)- November 22 was just like any other day for Jamie Billquist, only his wife Rosemary or “Rosie” as he calls her, got home before he did.
“She goes I’m going to take the girls real quick,” Billquist said, pointing to the couple’s two yellow labs Sugar and Stella.
“After a little while all of a sudden I hear the girls at the back door and I’m like that’s weird. You know they’re barking, you know that’s odd, where’s Rose at?”
Soon, he heard sirens.
“I’m calling her phone and finally Tom Jadlowski picks up her phone and says Jamie I’m back here, we’re back here.”
Jadlowski lives down the street from the Billquists on Armenian Road in the Town of Sherman.
According to Chautauqua County sheriff’s deputies, Jadlowski was out hunting and mistook Billquist for a deer.
The 43-year-old was shot in the hip and died at the hospital.
One day before Thanksgiving, Jamie lost his wife and his best friend.
“She loved to volunteer, I mean she just liked to make people happy,” he said.
Together, the couple made a bench for the hospital Rosemary worked at, all because she saw a patient with no place to sit.
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind” was Rosemary’s mantra; Jamie is working to live it every day to honor her legacy.
Caring for Stella and Sugar is one of the many ways Jamie feels closest to his wife, who would have turned 44 last month.
Jadlowski, who remained on scene to help Billquist after the shooting, pleaded not guilty to Second Degree Manslaughter and hunting after hours.
If convicted, he could face up to 15 years behind bars. His trial is set to begin in August.
“I obviously I want him to go to prison. He has to learn a lesson, he did some things that were bad and things that could have been avoided and he broke the law,” Billquist said.
Billquist is not angry at Jadlowski, but wants justice to be served. He’d like to see the 34-year-old involved with hunter safety classes to ensure a tragedy like this never occurs again.
The following events will be held in this summer to honor Rosemary Billquist and raise money for a scholarship in her name:
- June 3: “Rosie Run” in the Town of Sheram (5K and 10K)
- June 9: “Be Kind 5K” through UPMC Chautauqua WCA Hospital
Details for both runs will be posted on social media closer to the event.