Rosemary “Rosie” Billquist is shown sitting on the bench she created and donated to UPMC Chautauqua WCA for patients to use in front of the hospital in Jamestown while waiting for their ride. This photo was taken shortly before her untimely death. Photo by Joel Marsh, UPMC Chautauqua WCA
Rosemary “Rosie” Billquist was known by people in many areas of our community through her work as a Health Information Medical Specialist at UPMC Chautauqua WCA, as a marathon runner, a volunteer for Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care’s pet program and a member of the Sherman community. Wednesday her husband Jamie, family, friends and co-workers paid tribute to her and her life well lived at a memorial service at the hospital.
Before the service Billquist created the Rosemary Billquist Scholarship Fund at WCA Foundation in his wife’s memory. Its purpose is to provide scholarships for employees of UPMC Chautauqua WCA pursuing medical records or transcription, or continuing education in those fields to honor his wife’s work. Memorials for Rosemary and the proceeds of “Rosie’s Run” to be held in May will help create the fund.
“This will be a way for people to remember her,” said Jamie Billquist, of the memorial fund for his wife at her workplace. “We just figured this would be a good way to give to help her co-workers like she would have wanted.”
Following the gathering to honor the much loved co-worker known for her helpful pleasant attitude, Jamie Billquist and family dedicated a bench in front of the hospital at the parking circle in memory of his wife. Only months before, Rosie was leaving the hospital one day when she encountered someone sanding near the street after leaving the hospital. Due to circumstances, she stayed with them until they could be safely seated in the car coming for them. This situation inspired her to repaint and donate a bench she and her husband had to be placed at the parking circle where individuals needing to rest might sit while waiting for their transportation. She decorated it with a saying that defined her: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
Commenting on the new scholarship created for employees of UPMC Chautauqua WCA, its president, Betsy T. Wright said, “The WCA Foundation scholarships promote excellence in education and build a strong workforce to advance our mission to provide outstanding patient care. The leadership of the Foundation believes in the value of health care and education and we are grateful for their gifts that strengthen this hospital and the people who live our values every day.”
Rosie’s Run 2018 has been planned for May 6 at Falconer Park to help build the endowment for the fund in Rosmary’s memory. The run is pet friendly just like Rosie.
Community members wishing to support the new scholarship fund in memory of Rosemary Billquist may send donations to WCA Foundation, P.O. Box 840, Jamestown, NY 14702 or donate online at wcafoundationjamestown.org. For information about the fund or WCA Foundation, contact Brigetta Overcash, Executive Director at 716-664-5461 or Overcashbe@upmc.edu.