WATERTOWN — The two real estate brokers shot and killed at their workplace Wednesday were active in the community and known to always look out for their agents.
“The real estate community is absolutely turned over backwards,” said Linda J. Fields, a local real estate educator who taught the two who were shot Wednesday.
Maxine M. Quigg, 50, of Wellesley Island, and Terence M. O’Brien, 53, of Black River, worked together previously at Exit More Real Estate, and when they learned the business was closing, they decided to open their own brokerage, Bridgeview Real Estate Services LLC, in 2016.
Many of their former co-workers at Exit More joined them at 145 Clinton St., Suite 111. They built a staff of somewhere between 35 and 40 agents. Mrs. Fields, a real estate educator who taught Mrs. Quigg and Mr. O’Brien salesperson and brokers courses, said they weren’t just successful at their job, but they were kind people who were active in the community and had wonderful families.
“They were just the ideal brokers to work for,” Mrs. Fields said. “They were absolutely wonderful.”
It was at Bridgeview on Wednesday that a former employee of the business, Barry K. Stewart, allegedly entered the office and shot Mrs. Quigg and Mr. O’Brien, killing them. Stewart, 55, of Carthage, fled the scene and, upon being located by police in the town of Dickinson, Franklin County, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“It’s a sad day when you go into the office to work and you never make it home,” Mrs. Fields said. “They had wonderful families.”
Mrs. Fields also taught Stewart his real estate courses. She remembers him as nice, opinionated and a good Realtor. It appears Stewart left Bridgeview in March and had been working at eXp Realty in Watertown.
“As a student, he was very inquisitive,” she said. “He knew what he wanted to do. He was eventually going to open up a company.”
Mrs. Fields said there had to be something awry with Stewart for him to commit such an act.
“It’s a sad situation all the way around,” she said. “Nobody should have passed away like that.”
According to Bridgeview’s website, Mrs. Quigg garnered several awards for her achievements in real estate. But when she wasn’t serving her clients, she was serving the community.
She served 13 years on the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library Board of Trustees, serving two years as its vice president and two as its president. She left the board in 2017 only because she moved out of the city. She was serving on the Board of Directors for both the Northern New York Community Foundation and the Watertown Family YMCA at the time of her death.
The company’s website states she started her professional career as an intensive care unit nurse in rural British Columbia before becoming a Realtor, earning a “Rising Star Award” in her first year in real estate.
Mr. O’Brien served a 25-year career as a corrections officer, but had also been involved in the real estate business since 2008 prior to co-founding Bridgeview.
According to a profile on the company’s website, the north country native was involved in many sports organizations over the years and enjoyed a successful coaching career in men’s and women’s lacrosse.
Lance M. Evans, executive officer with the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors, issued a statement Wednesday evening.
“We are deeply saddened by the events today at Bridgeview Real Estate in Watertown which resulted in the tragic deaths of friends and colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones. It is a tragedy for our real estate community and we express our deepest sympathies to the families of the departed,” he said. “We will be working to heal from these events in the weeks ahead. We thank the law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation for their speedy and professional work.”
Once state police identified Mrs. Quigg and Mr. O’Brien on Wednesday evening, Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith issued a statement.
“Tonight, my heart is heavy after learning that we have lost two of the nicest, most decent, generous and community-minded people I have ever known, Maxine Quigg and Terry O’Brien. Words cannot begin to express the deep sympathy I have for both the Quigg and O’Brien families. ... This is a tragedy that will be deeply felt by many people, as Maxine and Terry were both so well known and loved in our community. For me, just like it is for many others, this is a personal, devastating loss.
“Terry and I were childhood friends who worked together in high school and in college at Doldo Brothers,” the mayor continued. “We spent countless days together at Patsy and Jean Doldo’s — our “second home.” Terry and I were housemates for a period of time in the early 1990s and shared countless memories and laughs throughout the years. A retired Corrections Officer, Terry’s passion was serving others. That includes young athletes who he coached throughout the years. My heart goes out to the loved ones he leaves behind, including his wife Paige and children Leland and Gabriella, as well as his parents and siblings John, Joe, Watertown City Police Department Sergeant Dennis O’Brien and his sister Mary.
“Maxine leaves behind a loving, devoted husband, Dr. Joe Quigg and two wonderful children, Connor and Kennedy,” the mayor added. “I had the pleasure of meeting Maxine two decades ago when my wife, Milly, worked at the Samaritan Medical Center emergency room with her husband. What would follow was a long friendship with Maxine and Joe that I am truly grateful for. Not only was Maxine a great friend to me and so many others, she was an extremely devoted member of her community. From her career beginnings as an Intensive Care Unit nurse to her most recent role in real estate, her life’s work was helping people. Her generosity and willingness to help others extended beyond her regular workday to volunteer roles with a number of local organizations including the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library, Northern New York Community Foundation and the Watertown Family YMCA.
“In the days and weeks to come, members of our community will need to lean on each other as we all mourn this senseless tragedy. I ask that you join me in remembering Maxine and Terry and in keeping their family and friends in your continued thoughts and prayers in the difficult days ahead,” he said.