Celebrating the Life of
Quentin “Q” Soldier Williams
Connecticut State Representative, Hon. Quentin Soldier Williams, beloved husband of Carrissa Phillippe Williams and devoted son of Queen Esther Williams died unexpectedly on January 5, 2023. The first Black Representative for the City of Middletown, Quentin had taken the Oath of Office for his third consecutive term just before his passing and at age 39 had touched many more lives with his optimism, passion, and joy than most people twice his age. A larger-than-life presence, when Quentin entered any space his boundless positivity and enthusiasm made an indelible impact on everyone in earshot. Along with his unmistakable, booming laugh, Q’s trademark goatee framed a contagious, emphatic smile that rarely left his face and perfectly represented his welcoming, generous spirit.
Born at Hartford Hospital and a lifelong resident of Middletown, Quentin took great pride in his public school pedigree. “Que,” as he was affectionately called, often reminded friends that he was a Bielefield Bobcat—representing his elementary school. In 2001, he celebrated his graduation from Middletown High School where he ran track and served as student body vice president. Alongside his wife and mother, mother-in-law Jan Phillippe, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family, Quentin is survived by his “brothers” or “PC crew”—childhood friends whose close bond has endured for more than three decades. After high school, Quentin earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Bryant University, where he was student senate president and a recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Leadership Award. He later earned a Master of Public Administration from Villanova University, a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University, and pursued an Executive Management Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Executive Management.
Quentin often cited his mother, Queen, as his inspiration. When he first won election as a state representative he thanked Queen in his victory speech, saying, “She has sacrificed more for me than anyone should ever have to do. And when I think about her many nights working 16 hours-a-day to get me through college. I truly hope that I give honor to her and all that she has sacrificed has not been in vain, because I’ve made her proud.” In raising Quentin, Queen encouraged him to do three key things: treat people the way you want to be treated; be honest; and put God first. He exemplified those values and they were a throughline in his work in public service, from his early involvement in Young Democrats at the local, state, and national level, though his first real foray into public service was in 2007 when he was elected to the Middletown Planning & Zoning Commission, a body he eventually chaired. Following his time on Planning & Zoning, Quentin served as City Treasurer in 2011 and was re-elected in 2015. As that term wound down, Quentin announced his candidacy for State Representative, saying, “I’ve been afforded so many educational and career opportunities in Middletown, and I’m eager to work hard to ensure the resources I’ve been granted are attainable for everyone.” On January 9, 2019, Quentin began that work as he was sworn into the Connecticut General Assembly and having won reelection in 2020 and 2022, planned to continue that work for years to come. While representing Middletown at the State House, Quentin co-chaired the Aging and Housing Committees, and in his third term would have served as co-chair of the Labor & Public Employees Committee.
In 2014, Quentin’s life changed while on a layover in Kansas City. He swiped right on Carrissa Phillippe, who attended graduate school in Lawrence, KS at the time. Despite their distance, the pair spoke constantly and after three months, Quentin flew to Kansas in August of that year where they confirmed what they already knew - they’d found the love of their lives. Those early years of flying back and forth and planning trips developed a shared love of travel. In 2017, Quentin and Carrissa were married in one of their favorite destinations, Las Vegas. Before the couple ever met in person, Quentin told her, “You’re already my best friend and someone I want to share everything with. And someone I want to explore and better this world with. We are going to create a partnership that’s one of a kind.” And that is what they did.
Shortly after graduating from Bryant, Quentin continued working in community banking in Hartford’s North End. In 2012, he embarked on a new professional career path in not-for-profit management and was named Executive Director of the Middletown Downtown Business District. Beginning in 2015, Quentin joined Excellence Community Schools as their Director of Advocacy and Policy. He was vital in launching Stamford Charter School for Excellence, and has impacted thousands of lives through his advocacy, community organizing, and strategic partnership work. Quentin also co-founded and was the former co-director of EquityCT, a nonprofit dedicated to creating learning opportunities, building actionable understanding of equity, and consciously dismantling systemic inequity through action and civic engagement.
Alongside those efforts, Quentin joined the University of Hartford’s Interdisciplinary Studies (UIS) faculty as an adjunct professor teaching students a course entitled, “Leadership: Opportunities and Challenges.”
A man of deep faith, Williams was an active member of the Cross Street A.M.E. Zion Church. It was his commitment to faith and service that guided many of his decisions in life. In 2021, that led him to be initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Beta Sigma Lambda Chapter, a brotherhood that held him in life and continues to hold him as he transitions into their Omega Chapter. During his journey to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and well after, Williams led his eight line brothers in morning prayer sessions to give them encouragement throughout their day. He was Co-Chair of the Kentucky Derby scholarship fundraiser—a position that his wardrobe made him uniquely suited for.
Alongside his public service and career in finance and education, Quentin earned a number of awards and accolades, as well as dedicated a substantial amount of his time to community organizations and nonprofits. He was named “40 Under 40” in Connecticut Magazine, Hartford Business Journal, and Fairfield County Business Journal, served as an American Council for Young Political Leaders Russia Delegate, a Community Foundation of Middlesex County Next Generation Leader, and on the Jewish Federation of North America Municipal Leader Israel Exchange. He was also honored as a State Legislative Leaders Foundation Emerging Legislative Leader, a NewDEAL Leader, and a Robert J. Thompson Eastern Leadership Academy Fellow. Quentin took great pride in his involvement with numerous charitable and service organizations. He served on the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. — Beta Sigma Lambda Chapter Foundation Board of Directors, Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater Board of Directors, Middlesex United Way Board of Directors, Middletown Racial Justice Coalition, Middlesex Substance Abuse Action Council Board of Directors and was an active member in Middletown Young Democrats, The Community Foundation of Middlesex County Live Local Give Local 365 Fund, and the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Alliance. Quentin is a former Columbus House (formerly Red Cross) Chocolate to the Rescue event Chair. Quentin has also served on the board of directors for Middlesex Historical Society and Mount Saint John Academy and president of Connecticut Young Democrats, and was a Subscribing Silver Life Member of the NAACP—Middlesex County Branch.
Quentin always made you feel like you were special to him, even in a crowd. He was our brother by blood and by spirit. He will forever be Middletown’s favorite son.