Our Memories of Q
I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Quentin as well as many people, but I knew him - and I’ll be forever grateful for that! I met Q through my good friends Kasie and PJ, and I will always remember just being immediately enthralled by his BIG, BIG personality. His big smile, big laugh, big hugs - the phrase “larger than life” definitely comes to mind! He was his own person and didn’t try to be anything else. He also immediately felt like a friend - so welcoming and comforting. I was excited to reconnect with Q many years later as I began to get involved in social justice work in Portland and started to learn about how active he was in politics and equity causes. I was so impressed and so proud of the work he was doing. When Q spoke at Portland’s 2021 Juneteenth celebration, he made an impact. I think everywhere he went, he made an impact. Now in hindsight, I feel that I took him for granted and always thought, “Oh I’ll get to spend more time with him later. I’ll get involved in some of these amazing causes he is working on.” All of a sudden that chance to get to collaborate more with him and bask in that beautiful smile was gone. The more people who share their memories and their experiences of Quentin, the more I realize how truly extraordinary he was. I always knew he was special - but now I can see, based on the ENORMOUS impact he had, he was actually a hero. Larger than life for sure and his legacy will live on. We are blessed to have known him, to have had our lives touched by him - even those who didn’t know him, because he cared about everyone and fought for the rights and dignity of everyone in this state. He had so much love to give and it doesn’t just stop. Even death is not a boundary for love. The love he put out, is reflected by everyone who has been touched by him, and it will continue to grow and make positive impacts. I’m so grateful to Q’s mama Queen for bringing this amazing person into the world. My heart is with Queen and Carrissa, PJ’s family and everyone who is mourning Q. May his memory be for a blessing.
Quentin (Class of 2005) and I (2002) spent one year together at Bryant, his first and my senior. But in that time, I and many others saw the signs of something great in the making. Most notably, I remember him with Bryant’s Student Senate and Multicultural Student Union.
My standout memory happened late that year. It was “Q” who advised me of a Student Senate awards event concurrent with the athletics banquet. The evening of those events, he would actually shuttle me and my parents between them.
My heart goes out to his family, friends, and community. “Q” is loved and missed immensely.
[The picture is of Quentin and Carrissa at Bryant’s 2017 homecoming, about a month before they married.]
When I first started working in Middletown, 5 or so years ago, Que was one the first people that I met. He & I, along with hundreds of others, had spent the day attending the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce career fair at the Red Lion hotel. The thing that brought us together was that for some reason neither of us were satisfied with spending the entire day at a hotel as we both opted to stay for the evening's festivities. No one enjoyed networking as much as he did of course. One of the night's events was a not very well attended trivia contest. While Que & I did our best at trivia we quickly turned it into a who could be the loudest contest. He had everyone laughing the whole time. Once everything was done I actually ended up on the winning team somehow. When the prize turned out to be a new set of headshots I was disappointed & asked "who in the hell wants headshots?" without thinking. Que's eyes quickly lit up & he exclaimed "I do!". It didn’t take me long to understand why. Que was going places & fresh head shots was just another very small but important part of his journey in public service. While I'm sure that photographic technology will never advance to the point of being able to actually capture the essence of someone so dynamic & kind as Que, I like to think they played a tiny part in propelling him to the beloved & impactful state representative he soon became. From that night on, he felt like an old friend. It always made my night when we'd see each other at an event & I looked forward to his last minute invite to his big fraternity party every year. It breaks my heart that we'll never get to see how far he would go in service of his wife, family, friends, community & constituents. I'll miss his booming laugh, hilarious stories & warm hugs the most though.
Q was the most kind, generous human I met during my time in Young Dems. Knowing him was to know joy. I'll never forget the time we were hanging out after a meeting at Yale. We had the best time, and my ride left me there. He so graciously let me stay at his place and even cooked me waffles for breakfast in the morning. That last time we hung out in 2015 seems like just yesterday. We sung karaoke all night long, and as always, had the most amazing time. Of course there's all the wonderful things he did as a State Rep. But I knew him back in the day, and the best part is that he didn't change one bit. That smile. That laugh. That man. I will miss him greatly.
Hard work pays off, dreams come true. Bad times don't last, but BAD GUYS do.
Q convinced me to go see 'Get Out' with him, Sarah Steinfeld and Diana Martinez. I'd been reluctant because I heard it was a horror movie. I was so glad that I saw it. Afterwards, we went out for a beer. Q was incredibly open about how hard it was for him to watch, and why. I'd known Q for a while already -- we'd been on the board of Oddfellows Playhouse together -- and we'd had serious conversations, but not about ourselves. I was so moved and so impressed by his willingness to make himself vulnerable, especially when he spoke about having been in 'the sunken place,' as it was called in the movie.This is the memory that brings me to tears, of the quiet, serious Q, who coexisted absolutely genuinely with the exuberant, totally out there, 'Hey sister!' Q. Rest in peace, friend; and I wish peace for all who are grieving. It will take a while.
Dwight & Keiffer Phipps
For our cousin Quentin,
Between our summers in Canada and our Christmas’ in Connecticut – we spent a lot of time during our younger years together.
Always full of energy and positivity – he would always bring an huge smile to any gathering or conversation!
His love for his family and hometown aways present in everything he did!
We’ve been so proud of who he’d grown into and all of his impressive accomplishments. We know he leaves a void in so many hearts.
We are still at a loss however, send our sincerest condenses to everyone he touched and influenced.
Brian Levin, Bryant University Student Senate President '05/'06
Quentin "Q" Williams, it was an honor to follow in your footsteps at Bryant, and even more to see you build on those humble beginning to a life of political service and community activism.
To hear the way your colleagues speak of your energy, optimism, and advocacy takes me back to those days of your mentorship and friendship. We were just young people trying to make a positive difference, we still are.
Your loss is our loss, but your impact lives on in so many, for always.
Rest easy, my friend. #quentinwilliams #bryantuniversity #bryantstudentgov
Anika Singh Lemar
So many people have shared their stories of Q's smile and optimism, I feel a little odd sharing this one. In April 2022, Q graciously took the time to speak at the Yale Law School to students interested in housing justice. He spoke on a panel entitled, Collateral Consequences: Advocating for Fair Chance in Housing and Lending. The other speakers were advocates -- from Louisiana, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. -- who had also been working to break down barriers to housing and small business lending faced by people with previous involvement with the justice system.
The speakers from out-of-state were able to point to victories. Their fight was ongoing, of course, but they had recent successes from which they drew strength. Q was in the middle of the legislative session, his first term chairing the Housing Committee, and deep in the struggle. He wasn't particularly optimistic that day. He told us -- more than once -- how sick he had gotten of the word "but," how accustomed he had become to colleagues telling him how much they agreed that justice and health and housing and food access were important goals, BUT...some other thing. And he told us that he had stopped hearing whatever it was that someone said before the BUT. He told us that he had learned that all that those people really wanted to talk about, all they really cared about, was whatever came after the BUT...that some other thing.
The next day, Q texted me. He apologized for being bitter and cynical. I thanked him for being there and thanked him for his honesty. I am so glad that my students heard from him that the work is hard. I am glad that they heard from him that there will be people who fight common sense solutions, even when those solutions don't cost anybody anything, even when those common sense solutions will save lives.
Q might not have been his normal jovial self that day, but who he was that day was very much part of who he was: fighting, even when the fighting was hard.
I met Q back in 2008. I was working as the Managing Director at Oddfellows Playhouse and was on the hunt for new board members. When I first met Q - of course the first thing I noticed was his laugh. Then his smile. And then this huge personality that filled up the room. Like we were long time friends when we had just met. Q came on board and immediately changed the energy and enthusiasm in the board room. When I departed Oddfellows for new opportunities - I never lost touch with Q. We spoke regularly - and it was always "Hello Director!" when I answered his call. We both ran for State Representative for the first time in 2018. It was incredible to watch his growth as a leader over those ten years and to be in that journey together. And then when he was elected, he continued to grow, lead and change the world. In the last year, it was wonderful to get to work with him again in my new role as Director of the Community Investment Fund. Of course when I got the job, he was one of the first to call and say "Congratulations, Director!" I'll miss you, Q.
I met Q when he was Downtown Manager for Middletown, and he immediately makes everyone feel like a friend. I would see him from time to time at events and meetings, and he was always warm and welcoming. It turned out we shared the same birthday, so I used to joke with him that we were twins separated at birth. That obviously wasn't true because I'm ... much older!
I Believe in Magic Because of Q Williams
I don’t know how to start this because there are so many ways to. Which Q story do I tell? Which one will show his explosive love and dedication to those he served? Which one will express how he impacted me, as a human being, who had the great fortune of knowing him? I’ve settled on 2 and I hope to honor him in the way he deserves.
1. It takes a lot to make me mad, and if you have, you know who you are, and so does Q. Last legislative session, I was driving home from Hartford, and I was super pissed. I was definitely having a moment. And my car phone rang. It was Q. To this day, don’t know what he was calling about because as soon as he said “How ya doing, sister” I basically vented out everything that was going on and how I was feeling. Q was always a safe place and he was a vault, so talking to him was aways easy. During that conversation, I started crying. He just stayed on with me, validated and comforted me. I felt so much better after I talked to him. By the time I got home, although still mad, I was calm and centered because Q took the time to be with me and receive my stress, disappointment, and anger. The next morning my phone rang again. And once again, it was Q. He was calling to check on me. He just wanted to make sure I was ok. Q just wanted us all to be ok and he was always extending himself, to make sure of that. He was generous with his love and friendship, always.
2. This early in December 2022, I got a call from a friend who was contacting me about a family of 6 who lost their housing. For this, I’ll refer to them as The Smith Family. Because of housing laws and the conditions of their voucher, they were unable to secure housing even though there was a place that had been offered to them in a neighboring town. I reached out to several people to help with this issue, including Q. Q understood everything that needed to be understood about this situation as soon as I started to tell him. He asked me to send him a copy of their housing voucher, which I did, and he was off and running trying to resolve this issue for The Smith Family. Over the weekend, I spoke with him several times as he advised me on who to call and who to “yell” at. He really was so annoyed. With his help and the help of a few others, this family was able to secure temporary housing in less than a week and had a plan forward. A few days after that I was on my way to a Christmas party. As I pulled into the driveway my phone rang and it was Q. He was calling just to double check that this family was ok. I spoke to him for 20 minutes because talking to Q was always more fun and soul filling, than any party. We talked about what a mess the housing laws were. We talked about what needed to be done to fix it. All the things. Then I said I should go because I’d been sitting in the driveway as people were walking passed me heading into the party. And then he said he was going out too. I asked him what he was doing that night and THAT’S when he told me he was in Hawaii. The whole time he had been advocating for this family, he had been on vacation in Hawaii with his wife. Unbelievable, but it was Q, so it was very believable. He got back a few days later and because he was always amazing about follow up, I got another text, “How are the Smith’s doing?” I will never delete that text.
There are no stories that can truly capture the magnificence of Q. He was an experience. He wasn’t just someone you knew, he was someone that happened to you. His magical superpower wasn’t that he could fly, it was that during any conversation you had with him, he was able to make you feel like you were flying. He lifted us. And yes, he demanded we all be the best we could be so we could serve as many people as we could in our own silos of work. Maybe that’s why his passing is so incredibly hard for all of us who knew and loved him. He not only expected the best from us, but Q was the best of us. He was the person we all want to be. He was made of joy and love and just the right amount of rage. He was a perfect cup of coffee on a Monday morning. His energy poured into us. It electrified us all and pushed us forward with enthusiastic optimism. He somehow expanded our personal capacity and commitment to do better. He made us brave. He was magic.
There was so much promise in him. It was exciting to think of all he would accomplish and become. It was exciting to think of what leadership like his would push us to do. Q was always clearing the way for the impossible to be possible. It’s why his passing feels so impossible.
Q surrounded himself with fixers. So those of us grieving him are people who see problems and work toward fixing them. We are now facing the unfixable and it is beyond words to describe the helplessness and grief this has caused. Because how do you turn a star back on? I don’t know. None of us do. Lately I’ve been obsessed with the James Webb Telescope images so pls excuse me if this is cliché. The only slight bit of comfort I have comes from some of those images, specifically the stars. The stars that have guided people since the dawn of time. It can take hundreds and hundreds of years for the light of the furthest stars to reach us. Some of those stars burned out centuries ago, yet we are still receiving their warm gentle glow now. Like the brightest, furthest star, the impact of Q was powerful and expansive. Until the last breath I breathe, I will hold Q’s warm and gentle glow in my heart and I will allow it to guide me to be brave and loving and joyful. But for now, I’m just going to allow myself to grieve and be sad, because, like so many, I miss him so damn much. I always will.
I remember when he walked into the room with a loud voice that carried confidence as he smiled and vied for an INROADS internship. Q stood out from many of these young and energetic scholars. Q was placed in banking, and I was in insurance. Later on, I graduated from Uhart and Q from Byrant. We kept in touch over the years, and Q would always speak positively of Middletown. He loved his community; he even tried to convince me to move. He told me about all the things he was working on and I was surprised that he could balance so much.
Q introduced me to Carissa in 2016 or 17. Q was beaming and I could tell that she complemented him in every way. In 2019, I saw Q at a cookout in Middletown and he was wearing sandals and white socks. I said, "Q, you're more Jamaican than me." We laughed because of our shared heritage. Over the years we would text each other to find out how things were going. Also, we would find something "Jamaican" to celebrate. I'm going to miss him dearly.
Councilman Phil Pessina
I watched Q during his MHS years grow into a young man with an infectious smile and how his infectious smile effected his peers and others positively!
Meeting me one day as in my new role from a retired Deputy Chief of our Middletown Police Department to an elected Councilman, we talked about serving our community and what it takes to earn the trust of it. I told him simply to look beyond party’s affiliation, to how he could make his community better, by being a voice for those who felt they have no voice. To be kind and loving and dedicated to our City of Middletown; which Q did and apparently listen too!
I will always remember Meeting Q and his wife Carissa and knew this was a match made in Heaven!
“Grief Never Ends…But it changes. It’s a passage not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith… It is the price of love!”
Councilman & Good Friend Phil Pessina
I first met Q, when I was about 23 at my friend Sara’s annual Three Kings Day party. The moment I met him, I knew what a kind and selfless man he was. Over the years, we’d bump into eachother randomly and he always had the biggest smile and most amazing laugh each time we saw eachother. I was so fortunate enough to see him again about 1 month ago while I was working in Farmington. As always, he had me cracking up and his laugh filled our restaurants dining room . Q, was one of a kind, true inspiration, and role model. My deepest condolences to his wife, Carissa, family, and everyone who has had the pleasure to know him. His legacy will forever live on.
Ryan Kelsey (Former Student)
I had “Q” as my Professor for a leadership class during my senior year at the University of Hartford. “Q” was simply the best professor I had during my time at Uhart. Kind, caring, personable, funny, and positive are just a few words that come to mind when thinking of “Q.” Not only did he want us to succeed in class but in every day life. He started every single class asking us (students) what was something that happened that was good since the last time we had our class the week prior. He cared about our well being and made sure that we all knew we were not just a name on an attendance sheet. I’m lucky to have had the chance to learn from “Q” and know that the lessons he taught me during class will stay with me forever.
I met Q the week of orientation our freshmen year at Bryant. It was impossible to not immediately love this man, as his approach to life was filled with such enthusiasm, hopefulness and just love for everything the world has to offer. He was one of my best friends our entire college career. There was no way to be unhappy around Q. His presence brought joy to everyone, and all it took was one Q smile to entirely change the mood in a room. I could easily write a novel on how wonderful this man was, but I'm sure everyone else will cover that with better writing style than I could accomplish, so I will share two of my favorite memories of Q.
The first was when we had a trip to Canada. While everyone else was out at the bars, Q and I walked everywhere in the city to find some little comic shop that he had heard about. This is the level of nerd both of us were - books over bars! His excitement upon walking in the door of the shop made the miles walked absolutely worth it. The second was when my favorite comedian, Stephen Lynch, came to Bryant to do a show. Q and I went together, so I got to hear Q's amazing laugh frequently that evening. At one point, Stephen Lynch asked the audience to name a potential super hero. Knowing how incredibly awkward I feel with any type of attention given, Q yelled out my name - JENNY (he was the only person in the world I've ever allowed to call me that)! Stephen Lynch started laughing hysterically at the response to his prompt, made a few jokes, and then played a song about a superhero named Jenny. Despite how red my face must have been, and how I would have sunk into the chair or ran out of the room if anyone else in the world had done that to me, having Q there made even my awkward self comfortable in the situation.
Q was an amazing light in this world. I hope all of us can find some way to honor him and make a larger impact on the world to make up for his life being taken so soon. He had already accomplished more in his 39 years than most people do in 100, but I can only guess how much more he had to do in this world. Everytime I feel like I just can't do anymore, I'll remember Q and I'll take that next step.
Q and I changed our last names right around the same time- something not terribly common for men in their 30s. Like any bureaucratic process, it could be slow and frustrating, so Q being one of the loudest cheerleaders I had for that decision helped a lot along the way. Each time I would enter a room, or even his sight, his voice would boom my new name across it, catching every ear along the way in the manner only he could command. These exclamations embraced and socialized the change, just like he had welcomed me into many spaces before: the intimidating rope line when I was a fresh lobbyist and he was seasoned, a now-closed dive in his hometown at my first Young Dems meeting, or any other venue where Q could share some of his good will to make another person feel at home.
I met Mr. Q at a conference where I was presenting. He came into my breakout room and asked many Gard questions about racial equity. After he called our work and asked if we would be willing to offer professional learning for the families at his school. One of the nights we were doing a family night and my children also attended with a babysitter. Suddenly my son tells that my 2 year old daughter was nowhere to be found… I do not how Mr. Q knew but he ran out of gym and called the custodian and they both starting looking for her. We were panicking and he is looking for with a smile trying to keep me calm. I walked to another part of the school and he walked towards the front and he found her on the stairs leading to the first floor. He brought her to me and said that everything was fine. His smiled calmed all of us!
I was impressed at how he truly cared for all of the families at his school. He always reminded me that every workshop needed to be in Spanish and English!
Q and I met and became friends through the Young Elected Officials Network. We met regular at convenings & other events as we shared a passion for making real, progressive social change. Marita Garrett, a fellow YEO and mayor, and I drove cross-country to go to his wedding in Las Vegas. We all walked through the fire to come through politics at our age, in our era. We had so much respect for each other's work, accomplishments, and the ability to find joy through the political madness.
I am Polish-American and speak Polish. I will never forget the first time I met Q and we started chatting about our backgrounds. He told me, "Czesc!" which means "Hello!" I was in awe. He spoke a few more words and told me he grew up around Polish-Americans and learned to speak some Polish. Every time I saw him thereafter he'd great me with "Czesc!" and a big hug and smile. He endeared him to me forever. I even told my family in Poland about him to illustrate the depth and beauty of the United States.
Quentin lit up every room.
It had been quite some time since we ta;led, and in August I received a kind reconnection email from him. We were supposed to catch up this Fall but life got busy, and complicated. I wish I could have spoken to him and absorbed his infectiously positive energy. I have been in mourning since the news. This is an immeasurable loss and from experience, I know it will take time to heal especially after this all of the public activity subsides. I am sending all the love and comfort I can to his family, friends, and colleagues through this extraordinarily difficult time.
The Community Foundation of Middlesex County
The Board of Directors and staff of CFMC are deeply saddened by the death of Q Williams. We extend our condolences to family, friends, and colleagues in Middletown and throughout Connecticut who were positively impacted by his life, his work, and his commitment to community. We were honored to count him as a “community resource,” a person who was always happy and willing to provide insights and to brainstorm solutions. As a founding member of CFMC’s 365 Fund giving circle, Q believed that together, we can – and do – make a positive difference in our community, working to ensure a better today and brighter tomorrow for everyone. Q made an extraordinary impact on those around him and his light, leadership, and passion will continue to guide us all forward.
Edward Ford Jr.
Q and I would meet up often at different local restaurants in town. We would catch up and talk about all the latest developments in our lives. I would look to him for guidance and he always had a way of keeping it real with me. I’ll never forget a particular day, when we met up at Athenian Diner on Washington Street in Middletown. I was debating which Masters degree to pursue. My top two choices were either a Masters of Divinity or an MSW. Q looked at me and shared how one of his mentors had steered him straight as he was discovering his path, and that he was going to do the same for me. He knew my passion for scripture, theology, and serving as a minister and public servant. He knew I cared about the intersection of faith/faith based communities and the public square. He encouraged me to go for my MDiv. Q had a special gift that allowed him to point out the gifts that others around him possessed and encouraged them to train and activate those gifts further. He said to me “you have a way of presenting scripture in the public sphere in a way I think is unique.” His words stuck with me and still do till this day as I am pursuing my MDiv at Yale. He believed in me as he believed in so many other young people in his sphere of influence. I’m blessed to have known him as not only a mentor but a brother and friend.
I have had the incredible privilege of knowing and working closely with Q Williams, a lifelong resident of Middletown, for nearly two decades.
Q loved Middletown – he lived and breathed it. Q was the product of Middletown Public Schools. He understood the power of education and become a passionate advocate for it. He was a bright light from the beginning. As a fifth grader in Bielefield School, he was recognized as a student of the year and always thought of himself as a Bielefield Bobcat. He went onto shine as a star student at both Woodrow Wilson Middle School and Middletown High School. After attending Bryant University, Q came back to Middletown and was very involved in our community. He served as City Treasurer, was active at Cross Street Church and served as the Director of Middletown’s Downtown District. He lived for our city’s Main Street, and our thriving downtown led him to create the Main Street Working Group in our Connecticut legislature.
When the state representative seat for the 100th House District became open, I was thrilled that Q wanted to represent our city in the state legislature. I knew he would excel in this role because he loved Middletown, our Main Street, our schools, and our people. He served his district joyously and authentically. Helping people was his calling. He loved his colleagues at the legislature, and they loved him back.
Q absolutely adored his mother, Queen Williams. As a single mom, she worked hard and sacrificed to raise him to be the amazing man he became. Just recently, Q changed his last name to Williams to honor his mother because he believed in the power of uplifting women. He knew that empowering women would uplift our families, our communities, and our state.
Q loved his beautiful wife, Carrissa. I still remember how they both shown on their wedding day, with Q in his white suit and Carrissa in her gorgeous white dress. Q was devoted to his wife Carrissa, who like him dedicated her life to helping others. When they bought their home on Bretton Road, Q was excited to tell me that Dr. Martin Luther King had stayed in his home. I was so sad to learn that both Q and Dr. King were both taken from us too soon at the age of 39.
Q understood that he was a role model and trailblazer as the first legislator of color elected the serve Middletown in the General Assembly. He loved visiting schools, especially Middletown High School, to talk about what he did in the legislature. He wanted Middletown students, especially those of color, to envision themselves as leaders.
Q was someone you wanted to be around, always exuding positivity and joy. His dazzling smile would light up a room, and his optimism was infectious. He will be missed not only by the people of Middletown and all of his colleagues in the Connecticut General Assembly, but also by leaders beyond the borders of our state.
So while we are all devastated and heartbroken by this loss, we must ask ourselves how we can best honor and carry on Q’s legacy. I believe we can do that in three important ways.
First, we should follow his lead and encourage women, particularly women of color, to run for office. Ask smart, competent women to run – the good news is that they are all around us. They are coaching youth teams, running PTA’s, raising money for charity and heading households. We should knock on doors, make calls and give money to candidates that we believe in, just like Q did. And we should support organizations that help women run for office.
Second, as elected leaders and involved community members, we must understand that we are role models for future leaders. Young people are watching what we do and listening to what we say. We should mentor young people, ask them to intern in our offices, and help recruit them to work on our campaigns. It is our duty to help them get involved. Q was always about the future and nurturing the next generation of leaders.
Finally, we should be there for each other just as Q was always there for each of us. He was the first to congratulate us on our successes and provide compassion when something didn’t go the way we hoped. He made everyone feel that they were his friend, and most of the time, they were.
Together, let’s promise Q that we will continue his legacy by looking forward and fighting for a more just and equitable future for everyone in our beautiful state. There will never be another Q, and we will miss him for the rest of our days. But, he will live on in each of us if we choose to continue his work.
I met Q my first night at Bryant, our freshman year. He was well known at school but he was always “our Q”. When we were seniors my cousin was a freshman but according to Q she was his lil cuz too! He wasn’t just a friend he was family. After college whenever we had a birthday or wedding among our group of friends, Q would always be there! One year he even showed up at a bar in Boston with his massive red suit case ready to celebrate. We always had a good laugh when we got together I mean how could you not with Q. His amazing smile, loving personality and unforgettable laugh he was the best friend anyone could ask for. We hadn’t seen each other in a few years but I’m so glad he had recently reached out last month in our friends group text.
I truly regret never thanking him for being the kindest person I have ever met. I’ll never forget him and what he meant to me. <3
Hello Beutiful. I only knew him at a couple INROADS events but he was a memorable soul! From the INROADS family: we are super proud of his legacy. PSALM 34
I've had the privilege of knowing Q for quite a few years, well over 20. But our friendship nurtured between church and marching together. Q was a giant! There is no doubt in my mind that he was destined for greater. Q was covered by God's grace and he used his platform to help the less fortunate. He was a true disciple and wonderful leader. God chose him to be not only a vessel good but to be a light to the nation. I'm honored to have shared moments and words with him. He will be truly missed. He was the ultimate General.
Jacquelyn Santiago Nazario
I’ll always appreciate your advice & contacts for getting my baby, Charlie acclimated to Pittsburgh in their first year at Carnegie Mellon University. Your conversations on helping my baby navigate ADHD and channeling all that energy was always enjoyable.
I’ll always admire your passion & commitment to affordable housing, education, & a more peaceful community.
Elegy for CT State Representative, Hon. Quentin “Q” Williams
Composed By: Lauren Clifford of Newtown, CT (Bryant University, Class of '05)
In Smithfield, Rhode Island, in 2001,
The Bryant dorms opened in warm August sun.
With luggage tags boasting a medley of states,
We freshmen had suitcases, duffels, and crates--
Compartments that held our potential and grit,
And tranches of fear, (we weren’t keen to admit),
But gumption was dogged, and high hopes won out--
Ideas for our futures were starting to sprout.
I went to the bookstore to buy some supplies.
The textbooks were bulky, I misjudged their size.
They wouldn’t all fit in the bag that I had--
A common mistake for a new undergrad.
A boy saw my plight, saying, “Pass those to me.
I know that they’re heavy, I bought the same three.
My bookbag is empty, let me carry some.
I’m Q from Connecticut. Where are you from?”
His smile was brilliantly bright and sublime,
The kind that brings joy in the saddest of times.
His positive energy oozed with each move--
Contagiously prompting my mood to improve,
“I’m Lauren,” I said, and then told him that I
Was also raised under Connecticut’s sky.
And after I thanked him, we started to walk
Across to the food court to finish our talk.
We spoke of our interests, our hometowns, our dreams,
Our new MP3s and our favorite sports teams.
Comparing our classes, we had overlap,
And planned social outings to fill in the gaps.
His laugh was like magic; his wit, razor-sharp;
His attitude signaled that he didn’t harp
On negative outcomes, and listening, I knew
These qualities were quintessentially Q.
A few weeks went by, we got into routines,
Attending our classes and meeting with deans,
Establishing friendships and clubs to enjoy,
And learning which dining hall foods to avoid.
We cheered on our Bulldogs to win football games,
And walked to Parente’s in torrents of rain.
Though drenched since we had no umbrella to share,
Our youth was upon us, we didn’t much care.
We’d just found our footings among program groups,
And then in a flash, we were knocked for a loop....
Professors were told to turn on their TVs,
We listened to broadcasters’ grim journalese.
We watched as the second plane’s target was hit
Which caused “The Before and The After” world split.
We screamed and we cried as the towers collapsed--
The time for our youthhood had fully elapsed.
Confusion and chaos expressly ensued--
A bunch of us searched for a landline to use
To check on our families who may have been caught
In remnants produced by Bin Laden’s cruel plot.
I gasped, as my panic continued to form,
“I left my prepaid calling card in the dorm!”
And just like a manna from heaven, divine,
Q stated, “Don’t worry, I got you. Use mine.”
I hugged him and thanked him, then I placed my call,
While he would inquire about protocol.
His kindness consoled me, my mind was at peace
For knowing my family was safe gave relief.
And when I got back to the dorm, there he was,
Providing a shoulder to cry on because
He wanted to comfort, and help if he could--
So selfless and willing to always do good.
His tenderness, warmth, and assurance came through--
Compassion that was quintessentially Q.
And after that trauma, the bubble had burst--
Most students were saddened and feeling their worst.
The gumption and grit had both started to fade,
But still we pushed on to receive decent grades.
If Q was dejected, it never did show--
His unbounded energy never did slow.
His ethos was strong, and his faith was unmatched;
His spirit not broken, just mildly scratched.
He looked to the future with vision anew--
That hopefulness was quintessentially Q.
When we were in class, I saw talent first-hand--
He spoke with charisma, he had such command
And presence when using his adamant voice,
I polled for School Senate and Q was my choice.
His force never weakened; his destiny, clear;
He’d go on to join the political sphere
Becoming a rep in his hometown to fight
The social injustice by making it right.
His tally of victories steadily grew--
That leadership was quintessentially Q.
And Shakespeare reminds us, a rose smells the same,
For even if called by a different name,
Its traits remain constant, its value is fixed,
From start point to end point and all points betwixt--
Called Phipps or called Williams, or Quentin or Q,
His virtuous character always stayed true.
And now here we are where the ink hasn’t dried,
Against “The Before and the After Q” line,
Just over the threshold where grief has commenced,
Where memories, nostalgia, and tributes condense.
We’ll always remember his wonderful laugh,
His smile, uplifting, in each photograph.
His great optimism, his purpose and worth,
His love that transcended his time here on earth.
Our hearts lead the way, giving thanks that we knew
That bright light that was
Rest In peace beautiful soul! I remember the first time I met Q in Middletown through a friend, he asked me if I was special like him. Yes you were special and too special too good for earth. My sincere condolences to his family and wife.
Lorenzo Marshall Sr.
"MIND over Matter" , since his time at Middletown High and even before, "Q' never let circumstances or obstacles deter him from striving to reach his goals and objectives. Always with the mindset of being a vessel to bring about positive change and Impact for others in need! Many thanks for stepping up and providing support and funding to assist the youth of Middletown, and pave the way for more opportunities for all!!!! Job Well done my friend!! As in your favorite sport of Track and Field, the baton will be passed , and your mission and objectives will continue to completion!! Never forgotten, R.I.P. and Glory, Quentin Soldier Williams!!!
I first met Q when I was a freshman at MHS and he was a senior. We were introduced by a friend of mine who was running cross country with Q. She came up to me and said Quentin Phipps wants to meet you and all I could think is why would this senior boy want to be introduced to a freshman girl. So I went along, somewhat skeptical, and met Q. When she introduced us, Q looked me straight in the eye and said "HI Cara, it's nice to meet you. I'm now your big brother so from here on out and if anyone messes with you, they mess with me." Now I was very confused, but Q went on to explain that his mom and my dad had worked together for years, and when he told me who is mom was it started to make sense. Apparently, my dad had been talking to Queen about being worried about me, his oldest child, starting high school. Queen took it upon herself to tell Q to keep an eye out for me and as Q told me that day he always did what his mom told him to. From that day on, Q was the perfect definition of a big brother. I'm still not sure I really wanted a big brother as it came along with requesting applications from potential boyfriends or questioning any boy he saw me talking to that he didn't know, but it also came with a constant friend, someone to talk to, and someone to have fun and laugh with. Q always made me laugh, even on my worst days, seeing his smile and hearing his laugh I couldn't help but join in. He became part of my family, showing up unannounced at my parents house for dinner, or calling to check in on my sisters, who naturally he considered his sisters too. Of course, as any good big brother would do, he also called to lecture me if he heard of any "shenanigans" I had gotten myself into, and somehow he heard about them all. When I went off to college, Q would come visit, sometimes with his PC boys, sometimes just him, but he made a point to stay in touch and make sure he met my new friends to make sure he approved. Q was the best big brother I never knew I wanted or needed until I had him, and I will never forget all the things he did for me, how much he taught me, and how much he loved the people in his very large circle. He truly defines what it means to be a good person and I will keep that with me and try to make him proud of me by using his example. Our world, our state, our town, our families and friends, and myself have suffered a huge loss that can never be replaced, but if we all live our lives thinking "what would Q do" together we can carry on his legacy. I love you Q, SIP.
One of the things that's striking about hearing so many memories of Q over recent days is how similar they all sound. We're all talking about Q's smile and laugh and warmth, sure. But we're all also talking about what a great friend he was, and cheerleader, and how he celebrated our leadership or recommended opportunities, or complimented our outfits. Q had an ability, unique among anyone I've ever met, to make people feel confident and comfortable in his presence. When we hung out, Q made me feel like I could do anything, whether it was beat him at a board game (ha) or win any election or pass any policy. Q was himself with everyone, and as evidenced by this book everyone misses him. Thanks for your friendship and lessons, Q. We won't forget them.
I was fortunate to meet Quentin when I started dating my husband, Kris Mierny, 18 years ago. I was introduced to Quentin as Kris and Damian’s brother. From that moment on, he embraced me as family, called me his sister, and he would later become “Uncle Q” to our daughter, Nina. My favorite memory is dancing with Q to one of my favorite songs being played by one of my favorite bands. His energy was magical, his smile was radiant, and his moves were so boss! From the moment Q met Nina, he was proud of her and intrigued by her intelligence, and he pushed my husband and me to make sure she received a great education. Q, I loved the relationship you had with my brother in law, Damian and your brothers. I loved seeing how in love you were with Carrissa. I loved how proud you were to be Queen’s son. I loved how much you loved our town. I loved seeing you at family gatherings and all the Middletown events. Your energy was infectious. Your passion and love will never be forgotten.
It was my pleasure meeting Q this past July and spending three weeks with him at the State and Local Program at Harvard Kennedy School. Q was passionate about government and had a smile that would light up the room. I am forever grateful to have met him. He was taken too soon and I’m reminded of this quote by Edward Stieglitz that sums Q up to me “And in the end it's not the years in your life that count; it's the life in your years.”
Q was one of my favorite legislators up at the LOB. Every time I saw him he had the largest smile on his face and his backpack on his back. He was a passionate advocate who lived to make our state more equitable and just. I will miss receiving his phone calls to plot how to increase equity in the state's education space. Q was loved by all and his impact spanned across so many across the state.
I was assigned to work with Rep. Williams as his HDO Press Aide shortly after he got elected and were already planning for the work ahead this legislative session. He was always professional, reasonable and kind. My favorite text from him was "Approved" after sending him a draft for review. I admired his commitment to his constituents and his dedication to all who needed his help or support. His broad, happy and sincere smile will be missed by all of us. My sincerest condolences to his wife, mother and all who loved him. I will forever remember him and the great honor of working together. MCR
When I moved to Connecticut, it was the first time in my adult life that I lived that far away from family and everything familiar. After moving, I realized that I was far more scared of failing than I initially thought. Imposter syndrome was real, and I swore that I was going to be sent home as soon as people realized that I wasn’t as smart or capable as they thought.
As a result, I was shy, reserved, and extremely cautious with everyone that I met. All of that ended the day that I met Q. I remember him telling me a hilarious story about how he almost got jumped by various members of Dipset while wearing one of his signature suits. The way he told the story made me laugh almost to the point of tears. It had been the first time that I let loose since I moved.
Since that moment there was always something that gravitated me toward Q. I would often work in the cafeteria at the capital and every time he came in, I would smile. He would always stop at the table that I was at, and we would “work” side by side. I put work in quotations because there were plenty of breaks involving us talking about our lives and laughing so loud that we turned heads.
Q always showed so much love. I don’t know if he knew how much his words kept me going. After leaving CT, we didn’t keep in touch as much, but every time we spoke, he would always say how much he enjoyed working with me. His words always brightened my day. It was as though he knew that I struggled with confidence and knew exactly what to say.
Q inspired all of us to grab life by the horns. He laughed fully, he loved completely, and he served his community with a level of honor and zeal that most never realize.
To his family, particularly his wife Carrissa and his mother Queen, I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. Q was a giant, not just because of all the amazing things that he was able to accomplish, but because he was a good man with a pure heart. As I mourn him, I am also so thankful for his life. For me, he restored my faith that good humble people who are committed to justice can make extraordinary change. Whenever I lose hope in government or get upset with the status quo, I will think of Q and remind myself that extraordinary things are possible. We just have to believe.
Q- Thank you for your life. You will continue to inspire as you have always done.
Linda Butts Brooks Miller
Quentin got me interested in Marvel’s “Black Panther”. He was so excited about bringing the movie to the Middletown community, dubbing the event “Wakanda to Middletown: A Black Panther Movie Premiere”. At the premiere he was dressed in African garb, beaming that bright, welcoming smile as he excitedly explained to the audience how groundbreaking this movie was and that it was a childhood dream come true. He, as part of the Middletown Racial Justice Coalition, galvanized the community around this epic movie by surprisingly selling out 2 Metro Movies theaters. I will never forget Quentin’s exuberance, not just about Black Panther the movie but about all social justice causes. He was a true ally and advocate for unheard and marginalized voices. He will be so missed as he was a rising star in Middletown, the state of Connecticut and beyond. His spirit and good works are eternal and live on!
Q was a bright and beautiful light from my earliest memories of him -- dancing on a bus, face lit up, laughing, spreading kindness and joy everywhere around him. But I also remember one year at a conference sitting and talking to him while he was going through a challenging period. Months later when I too was going through a hard time, he told me how much it meant to him and his path that I sat and talked with him, and that he would forever do the same for me. I remember being stunned, crying. He said it with such kindness and that is who he was. Genuine, kind, the kind of person who effortlessly made real and special connections with everyone around him. I will try to carry that light, and to remember to take the time to connect with more people in the same way. My heart goes out to his family and community, and the many people he touched. Love you, Q.
Dear Queen and Carrissa, Q has been in our lives since kindergarten, meeting Amy to take her off bus daily in grade school, Boy Scouts with Adam and just hanging around! Queen we worked together at CVH, and our children grew up together and graduated. Queen you were truly blessed having that light shine on all our lives, he learned all that love to give from you! Clarissa I remember the day Q told me all about the special lady named Clarissa that is in his life and how much he loved you! Q was so happy and told me he was going to propose marriage! What a smile and I’ll never forget his love for you!❤️and Queen❤️ !
Years ago, I had the opportunity to go to the Poconos with Q, Alison and one of his PC Brothers Damian. I have such a fond memory of one day going for a hike as a group- not something that was a regular activity for Q at all. He was so excited though for that, and the other adventures that weekend that included paintball and horseback riding! He had brought this incredibly LOUD (bright red and bright yellow- we're talking like a walking McDonalds logo-bright) matching sweatsuit for the fun. He proudly puffed his chest out and took big ol' strides walking through the woods that day with a big smile on his face exclaiming "I'm hikin'!" He was always such a good sport ❤️💛
Q and I stayed in touch throughout the years and our paths crossed in the aging/advocacy world and even at the Middletown Mayor's ball once. I always welcomed a friendly text saying "Hey Sis" and an invite to his annual Kentucky Derby events.
I met Q in middle school we were both at a science camp at CCMC. I was shy and quiet and Q was in my group, and you can guess… he took me under his wing and made come out of my shell. “Let’s go girl you’re hanging out with me” he said. I will never forget how he made me feel in that situation and really made my experience so much better than it would have been had I not met him. He was so genuine and just wanted everyone around him to have a good time. I went to school in Plainville and was a cheerleader so at football or basketball games we always tried to find each other to catch up. The other day my mom made a comment to me how he would always find her in the stands to say hello to her as well. She said “he was just a genuine, kind and respectful guy”. When I moved to Cromwell we would see each other out (pic attached is when I saw him at Rookies once; 2010) I remember telling him I was so proud to see his success from afar/online and we joked one day he would be mayor of Middletown. He said “do I have your vote” and I said well if I could I would vote for him. Loved following him during his elections Just loved following him in general and see the amazing things he was doing. Just felt so proud of him and his accomplishments.
Saturday night we were in an Uber and we were talking about how we wished we could have made it to the green the night before and the Uber driver said “oh you knew Q I did too I was there last night” she had worked out with him in the morning at the gym and after we talked about him for a few minutes I couldn’t help but think - we should all live more like Q! His kindness, genuine, a friend to everyone, larger than life personality that you really can’t put into words…and always with a smile! This world would be a better place with more people like him.
Reading peoples posts online and chatting with the driver has really moved me, just hearing how many people have these stories about him and how many people he touched. It’s just remarkable and he will surely be missed.
I’m rambling and this is not a well written note but I felt like I needed to just share these few things. I’m gonna miss running into him and seeing that smile.
Sending my deepest and sincere condolences and I’m continuing to pray for you. ~Kelly
I first met Q about 6 or 7 years ago playing board games. He was so much fun to play with (even though our venn diagram of games was pretty narrow), and competitive in a way that just made you laugh and tease him. I loved Q's curiosity and kindness, and was so excited when he ran for office. Even though he didn't represent my part of Middletown, we talked a few times about environmental issues and particular bills and he was so respectful and dedicated to serving Middletown residents. It's hard to believe I won't get to hear his booming laugh or electric smile again - but both will live on in my mind and heart.
Commissioner Emery (as you always addressed me, even when I no longer served) will always be thankful for and remember the times we shared on P&Z, as well as heartfelt conversations we had over time; thankful for your presence, perseverance, and ability to see the possibilities in people, and problems—needing to be solved. I am especially grateful for your example in following your passions, by pushing boundaries and never taking a no for an answer. With a glint in your eye, you repeatedly found a workaround, didn't you? Always with a generous smile, infectious laughter, and outstanding style! Not just striving, always thriving even in the tough times. Your life on earth, was cut to short. Your star will always shine brilliantly in my memory! You will be missed! Rest in Peace*
Dollie Price. email@example.com
Quentin "Q" Williams is the son of my best friend, Queen Esther Williams. It hurt me terribly when I heard of the news. Quentin will never be forgotten in my eyesight. He had a career which he would have made it to the top. In my sight, he made it to the top. One of the best young men in his field. You will be truly missed Quentin. Truly Rest in Peace.
I met Quentin May 5, 2006 at a Hartford Block Party. He would always tell me that was the day I ruined his and Pj’s single summer. After that, we formed a friendship/sibling hood I was so proud to be apart of. Over the years he became an uncle to my children and married Pj and I in our home. His laughter brought attention anywhere he went. We spent many nights going to comedy clubs and he was ALWAYS the brunt of the comics jokes which I promise he didn’t hate! There will never be another Quentin and for that this world is a lot more dull. I miss you already my wild friend. Love you forever.
hopefully the photographer doesn't mind the edit....but please pass this along to the family
Quentin and I went to school together from elementary all the way to high school. He was a year behind me but we had so so so many interactions throughout the years. He was always there to listen, to laugh, to joke, to just... be. My father died when I was a senior in high school. As soon as he heard the news he reached out to not only myself but my brother as well and continue to check in on us when there were difficult days ahead such as graduating without my father there. He still, as we became adults, made sure to keep in contact and still had the must selfless heart. Q would even take time out of his busy work day to meet with his teacher friends and their classes when visiting the capital. To have more people like Q would be to make this world the best it possibly could be. We love you and will miss you so so so much.
Mr. Williams was someone I wish I got to know better. My family and I owe him so much! He helped us find a path forward to bring home our youngest from foster care in Arizona. Every day I get to spend with my family as big and complete as it is is thanks to the efforts of Q. I will never forget the kindness he showed.
The moment we reached out to him, he was asking questions about our situation. He wanted to know who we were and how he could help. He cleared the way for us to get special permission to move on to the next phase of the adoption process.
We had found out about our youngest child through my family, a baby from a cousin who needed a loving home. After a brief discussion, we knew would be that home for him. Shortly after this discussion, we started the adoption process.
Anyone familiar with the child welfare system in the US knows it can be difficult and slow moving. It took us about 6 months to get physical custody of our son, a process that was complicated by state borders and a global pandemic.
Our permission to get him was on hold because of Covid-19, which was a reasonable precaution. We developed a plan to drive cross country in an RV, which would minimize contact with other people while we got him.
To get the permission to do this, we told Q what our plan was. He loved it and our story and helped us get the permission we needed. In May of 2020, off we went on to get our baby. This would not have been possible without Q.
Thank you Mr. Williams, you were an integral part of completing our family. You cared and made it known to call you anytime we needed you. I regret not sending you updates about how everything went. Our youngest is officially adopted by us and we are so happy and blessed to have him.
Context: The 1st time I met Q was at PJ'S and Kasey's wedding as a teenager and I hadn't seen him until many years later at CTCon, we didnt recognize eachother till later into the conversation to which he said - "Oh! We are family!" Of course PJ and him are basically brothers which makes us family but he treated me as family having no real knowledge of who I was as a person. To simply 'see' someone as they are, accept and treat them as your own as he did, is something that we all need to do a little more of.
My memory is similar to many others, because that was Q, touching so many lives. A few of my nephews and nieces are close friends to Q so I met him through them. Immediately I was drawn to him, he just sucks you in like that. He hugged me like very few people do, so deeply and genuinely and called me “Auntie” right then and there. Never once did he call me by my name, it was always “Hi, Auntie!”, “How are ya, Auntie”! We were instantly family, no question, no declaration. I didn’t see him often but when I did, there it was - “Auntie” and love. Simply and honestly, love. I send to all who were touched by Q’s love, energy, laugh and spirit peace and one of those deep, loving hugs.
I met Q around mid to late 2006. I remember saying to him that I got his flyer and wanted to know what he was about. He stated "vote for me"! We talked about what he wanted for Middletown and I was hooked since! He has been someone I looked forward to seeing and talking to since that day!
Hey old friend, I’m sorry we didn’t have more time together. I know we had a lot of fond memories growing up. We also had our falling out, and I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry we didn’t have the chance to make it right. You were always a good friend growing up and became a good man, and you always did you right thing…certainly the reason why you were loved by so many. I know you had a lot more to offer this world. Hopefully they know how to re-create my mother’s cookies up there, because she’s not there, yet, in case you were looking for them. Rest in peace, buddy. See you again, someday.
How did he have so much time?
That's the thought I often had about Q. We all know and loved him and somehow, in a few years in the legislature, he managed to leave a lasting memory on everyone he met. He greeted me as family and was not quick to talk legislative business. He was in the business of building real relationships by sharing life stories and finding out what connects us.
I think we both used laughter as a coping mechanism to get through a hard discussion and to figure out a plan to do something about it. I once closed his office door mid meeting because we were laughing so hard, and he said "oh now you are shutting MY door" and he burst into tears laughing.
I read through everyone's stories today and it's no surprise that so many of you had the same experience, which always had me question how he had the time to spend so much of it with all of us in such an impactful and personal way. My take is Q knew time was important and fleeting and he chose to treat every interaction as a meaningful connection, and the real work was knowing each other; where we come from, and what shaped us, and then, and only then, could the legislative work commence.
He had high aspirations for himself and we all had high hopes for him. It's a devasting loss for the State of Connecticut, but maybe we can all spend a little more time getting to know each other, just like Q did.
I was a classmate of Q’s, graduating a couple years before him. Even then, I knew he was destined for making change! He was very active in student council.
Then as I went on to be an educator in MPS, I remember Q coming in during our convocation to really highlight how important the education of Middletown students was to him!
Finally, Q was such an advocate for people in his community. This picture is of him speaking at a Juneteenth event on Middletown’s South Green.
At his vigil, seeing SO many people there who were touched by this one amazing person was extremely beautiful. All the speakers shared a common theme. Q lead his life with love, servitude to his community, and a drive to advocate for his family, friends, and the people of Middletown. His bright light will be remembered by these acts, his beautiful smile, and infectious laugh!
Seeing Q walk down Main Street at the Memorial Day parade. A smile as long as the street and permanent image to be remembered. You couldn’t help but smile and wave. Rest In Peace.
Q was one of the earliest friends I made in Young Dems. Beyond the CT chapter, he was plugged into a whole network of other folks that he met at national conferences. He warmly welcomed me into that family and helped me make deep and meaningful connections with people from across the country. When I decided to run for VP of Young Democrats of America, Q bought a ticket and flew himself down to the convention where he worked as my “body man” and staffed me throughout the whole event. He made sure I had food and coffee, that I was on time to key meetings, and generally made sure I was cared for during a stressful endeavor. Q in a nutshell: showing up for friends was his superpower. There are so many other small ways he did this for me over our 15 + years as friends and I can only hope I returned this back to him. I will miss my friend endlessly.
Q was such a force on Bryant University's campus -- A true leader who knew how to bring people together. On the Bryant Alumni Facebook page, there are dozens of comments and remembrances. I've attached a photo from his campus visit in March 2018 to speak with students.
I remember when my sister threw me a surprise party for my 13th birthday at the Beacon Hill Clubhouse. Only a handful of friends came because, well, in the pre cell phone and social media era, the best way to spread the word about anything was at school. My birthday is at the end of the summer. But you know who did show up? Q. With his big smile and a wrapped gift— a 10 pack of fun sized Snickers. He knew they were my favorite. All he did was show up to his friend’s birthday party with her favorite candy bar. But it mattered to me. And stayed with me all these years.
Don’t think the little things you do don’t matter. They do. And Q knew that.
I just can’t stop thinking about Q his wife, his mother, and my adopted home town of Middletown, CT. This is a loss for humankind. I used to kid him that I was old enough to be his slightly older but much cooler older sister. The truth is, I was more than a decade older, he was way cooler and so much wiser than I was. We were always at the same events, for the Chamber of Commerce, Oddfellows Playhouse, Green Street Arts Center or on the same committees, except he’d blow into a Young Professional’s Alliance social with a suit on his frame and a smile on his face and then tell me he had to be somewhere else… a young democrats event, a fundraiser for Columbus House, a meeting for something he was chairing and I’d go home and go to bed 🤣.
He had no off switch. Making a difference was is destiny and it’s so clear from the tributes pouring in he did.
Angela Rodriquez Moore
My memories are with the Williams family at First Baptist Church of Whitesboro, NJ
Pareesa Charmchi Goodwin
"I met Q during the 2019 session. He was wearing a suit, a floral-patterned tie, and a backpack – he looked ready for anything! He was bouncing from meeting to meeting with gusto.
Before we knew each other well, Q showed up to a community conversation I hosted on oral health and called me after, asking “Who is championing dental therapy in the legislature? Do you need a champion? Because I am all-in.” We did need a champion. And that is what Connecticut has lost – a champion. But he wasn’t just that.
A friend - Q was fun and easy to get a long with. From health equity, to careers, curry goat, racism, housing, astrology (and teasing me for being a Scorpio), to holiday memories and family, Q could talk about anything. He made friends wherever he went and celebrated the success of others above his own.
A husband and son - Q constantly talked about how amazing his wife and mom are. He was so proud of Carrissa’s work. It was obvious he was madly in love with her. And he was in awe of his mom, Queen.
Q was Q – joyful, honest, fun, bold, full of love and light. I feel fortunate to have met him. Q is the kind of person who changes a community. He continues to inspire people to fight for and not compromise your beliefs while still getting things done. Q knew life was precious and he soaked it up. He will forever be a bold, joyful champion."
The long-term care residents in Middletown as well across the state of Connecticut benefited from Representative Quentin Williams support and commitment. He saw them as members of the community with no less right to his advocacy than anyone else. In fact, he was the voice for the people many others did not see or hear. He used his position to create meaningful change in his community and across the state for individuals who did not always feel represented or heard.
During COVID my office was receiving calls from residents and family members related to their experience in their nursing homes. So, I reached out to Rep. Q. as he was one of the Aging Committee Co-chairs at that time. He said give me the 101 on this, what do I need to know and what do we need to change to ensure these residents are receiving quality care. That is just the way he was, dedicated to service and committed to being a conduit for change that improved the lives of the individuals he served. Residents at some of his local nursing homes wrote to him about poor care and he went out to meet with them personally. He wanted them to see that he supported them and that he was dedicated to improving their quality of life. He wanted to know what he could do to ensure that individuals living in long-term care communities had access to appropriate care and services.
It made me laugh when he would call and say Madame Ombudswoman, I have a question for you. He would always pose something that he had learned or heard. He would want to know if I thought we could improve the situation or if such a change would be good for the people he was working with. That legislative session he worked to develop and move forward several bills that directly impacted and improved the quality of care and quality of life for individuals living in Connecticut’s long term care communities. Representative Quentin Williams your advocacy, smile, laugh, and general spirit are going to be greatly missed.
~ Mairead Painter State Long-Term Care Ombudsperson
Elaine F. Almquist
I met Q while we were both serving as representatives to the Young Democrats of America. He was such a light, so smart, funny, joyful, and witty. He loved to sing, and his voice and infectious smile will be joyous memories for me.
Amy Morrin Bello
I was a new State Rep working through my first session during the pandemic so I hadn't really gotten to know my colleagues all that well. I got a text from Rep Quentin Williams. He wasn't my assigned mentor. He wasn't the chair of a committee I was serving on. He didn't have a bill he was trying to solicit my vote for, he simply wanted to grab lunch and get to know me. So we meet up in Middletown, had a great lunch and talked for hours about our families, travel, our path to elected office. And what a pleasure it was to be in his company and just talk. It is rare to find someone who so readily makes time for others to feel seen and appreciated. Q was that special person that always made you feel important. Thank you, Q for sharing your wisdom and light with me for the short time we knew one another. My life is better because you were in it.
Rocking that wonderful smile, even when you were a kiddo.
One of my favorite photos of us bro. You were my first friend on this earth, you helped make me the man that I am today. Without you I wouldn't have the life that I do. I love you bro
I met Q very briefly years ago. I was with mutual friends and Q burst in with his booming voice and immediately lit up the room. His laugh was just as loud and contagious. He left a lasting impression on me just in that singular moment. I know he was a good person just by the company he kept and how he impacted so many different lives from different groups. I’m glad I met him even for that brief time.
CT DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes
With every step, there was purpose… With every thought, there was action… With every smile, there was sincerity—- and mutual admiration.
My heart is saddened as we try and make sense of this loss. Having been one of many who had the privilege to be energized by and with Q every time we spoke… Jan 4th 2023, seemed particularly exciting as we chatted about the next “good trouble” we would make. How proud Q also was to become a member of our beloved “Phirst Phamily”!
Although his light has been dimmed, it will live on in the work. We each have a responsibility to continue his legacy of servant leadership and advocacy.
Q— Thank you for being a beacon of Truth, Justice and Equity. The children, families and communities of CT will continue to benefit from YOUR light.
“FOR THERE IS ALWAYS LIGHT, IF ONLY WE’RE BRAVE ENOUGH TO SEE IT… IF ONLY WE’RE BRAVE ENOUGH TO BE IT…” a. gorman
Love you Q. Met you when you first started on Middletown P&Z about 15 years ago or so. We use to chat about all kinds off things while we sat together at the end of the podium and those meetings went on late into the night. At that very point I knew you were destined for great things. So sad, because you deserved so much more. Will never forget that infectious smile of yours and great personality. Deepest sympathy to your family and all the Middletown community that was so proud of what you accomplished in your time here with us. We're all better off thanks to what you've given us over the past 39 years. Will miss you brother and RIP, Bob Dob 😢
Quentin and I grew up in Woodbury Circle, two doors down from each other. We were both only children, and he was the closest thing I had to a brother. We both came from single Moms, who worked so very hard to support us. This meant that there were many times we helped the other when one of our mothers was at work. As a sharp dressed man, I am not actually sure when he finally learned to tie a necktie, as there were countless times my mother or I had to do it for him! For many years, I stayed over his house several nights a week while my Mom was working third shift. It was just what we did for each other without a second thought. I'm sure that he probably borrowed 50 pounds of sugar for Kool Aid over the years! My favorite memory of him was when I had a dance in high school, my Mom had to work, so Q followed me to my dates house, and then to my grandparents so he could take pictures and make sure I didn't butcher putting on the corsage. In the end, I think I did OK, and my Mom had plenty of pics! I remember seeing some of his opponents slinging mud during the lead up to his first State Rep election. It made me furious because of how wrong it was, and how much above that pettiness he was. The only negative thing I can think of Quentin is how he liked to "sue" people in Monopoly! I think our house rules helped prepare him for a career in politics. I don't know a person who deserved to be a public servant more than him, and it saddens me I will never get to vote for him running for governor or president. The world is genuinely a darker place without him in it, and he will truly be missed.
Q and I worked together at Stamford Charter School for Excellence. He was all about positivity and change. The students absolutely adored him. He offered advice to anyone who needed and lent an ear whenever someone needed to vent. He is the reason I made the purchase of my home. We shared stories and had many laughs together. I can clearly hear his voice and laugh in my mind as if he was right next to me. He will be missed. RIP <3
Brother, writing this is probably the most painful thing I’ve done in a long time. Man you were such an inspiration to so many people. I wish I was as charismatic and sociable as you. I always wondered how you were always so upbeat and full of life. I guess you were just living. It’s just who you are bro. Someone who brings light into every dark room, put a smile on every face. I’ll never forget those big hugs. Arms wide open chest up standing proud and ready to give you the most heartwarming embrace. How is it so easy for you to make everyone feel so connected to you. How do you not ever change up, or falter from character. Being a brother to you has been a honor and a opportunity to learn from the realest kindest funniest liveliest honest loving person I’ve ever met. Til we meet again my brother. I love you.
When I was just looking to get involved as a young democrat, I wasn't too sure if the CT Young Democrats was the right group for me. I had been to previous events and always felt out of place. But that changed once I met Q who was the President, he not only introduced me around, but helped make the group a little less intimidating and definitely seem a little friendlier. I eventually met so many people who I call friends to this day, including Q. I eventually became President of the CT Young Democrats myself and relied on Q for advice and support. He was always there for me, and I was happy to support him whenever he needed it too. His warmth and friendship made me happy to have joined the organization, and even happier to have a friend like him. You meet the best and the worst in politics, Q was by far, the best. I will miss him dearly.
I was born and raised in middletown,ct and have been living in portland,ct for the past 22 years.I met Q at our Juneteenth Event back in 2021 where he along with myself and others did speeches.I told him that I would be running as candidate for the portland board of education,he smiled and said "Do you have a campaign manager?I'm right here."He offered his advice to me and even when I lost the election he still offered advice and clarity.I recently told him I plan on running in 2023 and he gave me the best advice of all and that was to remember what I stand for,believe more in myself and keep the faith and that he was looking forward to seeing me campaign again.I am so thankful for his conversation and motivation.Q,you will be greatly and sadly missed.
I only met him twice, but he was so kind and beaming with happiness both times. Listening to the things said about him at the vigil confirms what a special person he must have been. We can all hope to leave that kind of loving legacy of service when our time here is done. RIP, and condolences to his loved ones. 🙏
Kori Termine Wisneski
Middletown lost its biggest advocate and fan on January 5th and it's hard to put into words how much he impacted this community and those around him. I was privileged to first meet Q when he joined the Board of the YMCA. He was dedicated to all things Middletown and was a huge advocate for this local non-profit as well as so many others, including Oddfellows. Any time I would see him around town, whether it be at a Board meeting or at Eli's for the pig roast, he always had a larger-than-life personality. He smiled and laughed like no other and his happiness and positivity were contagious.
When I joined the City in 2012 as Deputy General Counsel, Q was one of the first people I met with on a difficult issue. He had a wonderful way of challenging you to be the best you could be, or in this case, making sure my research was thorough, but at the same time being respectful when he didn't receive the advice or news he wanted to hear. He always addressed me as "Counselor" and used to quip that I was the most researched attorney he knew because of that initial professional encounter.
Years later when he joined the legislature, he was always willing to answer my calls or emails. One time in particular, I encouraged him to attempt to change a law that had a negative impact on victims. He immediately went into action, proposing a change in committee. While this law did not ultimately pass, he reassured me that all was not lost and that he would look for other opportunities to address the injustice.
Most recently, he came to City Hall for a meeting to discuss his new project -- the state mandate requiring all municipalities over a certain population to create a Fair Housing Commission. It was no small task, but he led the charge, and had led the charge at the state to get this legislation passed. He was confident, poised, and had a vision for this work. He was no longer a rookie legislator; he was finding his voice and putting his ideas into action, and it was beautiful to witness. The week before his passing, I began writing the fair housing ordinance that is now required because of his work. I intend to present it to a city commission this week and will talk about Q's dedication to this project.
What I find so heartbreaking about this tragedy is that Q was just getting started. He had accomplished so much in his short 39 years, but he had so much more to give and we as a community and as a state had so much more to gain from his passion. There can never be another Q, but I do hope that others are inspired by his work and his life to get involved in their communities and to make a difference like he did in ours. My heart goes out to his wife Carrissa and his mother Queen. You should both be so proud. He was a wonderful man, friend, colleague, and community leader. He simply was the best. May his memory be a blessing.
Tricia and Bob Dynia
We've heard so many wonderful things about this gentleman over the past few days. And that smile? His entire face smiles. It's in his eyes, and we wish we'd known him personally. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. So young. Way too young.
I met Quentin on a bus while chaperoning his kindergarten field trip. He sat in the seat across from me. Even back then he had an infectious personally, he had my ear and talked the whole trip. I remember saying to him “Quentin; I know I will be voting for you some day for President”. His response “I’m going to start local”. I cracked up! He knew at 6 what he wanted to do. He and my son Adam became good friends and spent a lot of time at our house. He use to call me mom. I was in Stop and Shop I hear someone yell across the floor….”Hey Mom”. I turned to see Quentin. I got the biggest hug! I loved that kid. 💔 I am just heart broken. I will miss that smile 😘 Diane Hayn (mom)
Two years ago, I was sworn into office as State Representative for the first time. Little did I know it would be the start of being loved by Q. Q loved big and lived big, never taking the future for granted. There was no one I knew who was more alive and present than Q. At the heart of it, Q was the embodiment of love. Love in all forms. In his smile. In his hugs. In his listening. In his eloquence. In his silliness. In his policymaking.
And he showed his love in how he believed in you - often more than you might believe in yourself. The night of the Inaugural Ball, Q made his way throughout the chaotic and celebratory evening stopping to chat and laugh (that big laugh!) with so many. Walking over with his tux and signature paisley pocket square, he insisted on talking to my husband Chan about me. He wanted to tell Chan how much he loved me, how proud he was of me, and how much he believed in me to keep doing amazing things for our state. This is who Q was and will always be to me. He loved us all so deeply and saw so much more in us than we saw in ourselves. He was our biggest cheerleader - always sending that encouraging text, recommending the latest educational opportunity, or ready to support your idea for some “good trouble.”
He loved and lived purposefully in his service to others. Q tirelessly advocated for youth, for women, and for people of color—those so often marginalized in our communities and forgotten in our lawmaking.
As Maya Angelou said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Q made everyone feel loved. He loved his wife, his mother, his friends, his constituents, his fellow elected officials, and his state and he was fearless about showing it each and every day. His love - vulnerable, joyful and limitless - is what we must rely on in these toughest of times to continue to light the way.
From the moment I met Q, he made me feel like family, even when I was simply just the new girlfriend of his cousin. He had a way with making you instantly feel welcome. I reminisce on how incredible it was to watch him marry such an amazing woman, Carrissa. The love between them was palpable and Q’s #OnTheBoat speech has stuck with me to this day. Any time I ever interacted with Q he emitted this force of positive energy, excited for his next endeavor. I am so sad the last time I saw him was at Kwami and my wedding, although the memories made are ones I will hold dear to my heart. These few photos make me smile at how accurately they represent his optimistic and charismatic personality. We have all lost such an amazing human who was also doing incredible things for the people of CT. I know I will miss you dearly, RIP Q.
I've been fortunate to see some pretty incredible comedians during my life, but no set will ever top a performance at the Hartford Funny Bone by Canadian comic Ian Bagg. But here's the thing - Bagg's act had almost nothing to do with what made the whole night so memorable. That honor belongs to my dear friend Quentin Williams.
This website wouldn't exist if everyone didn't have their own Q story. That's part of what made him so special. From his high school classmates to Governor Lamont to Congresswoman DeLauro, Q has left an impression on every person he has ever met. For many of us, that impression includes that incredible, loud, boisterous laugh of his. If you heard it once, you'd never forget it it: sort of a combination Eddie Murphy meets Louis from "Revenge of the Nerds," amplified by 10,000 decibels.
I first heard that laugh in what was then Woodrow Wilson Middle School, more than 25 years ago. Q and I sat together as trumpet players in the band and we became friends. Years later, we found ourselves heading out with a large group of friends to the Hartford Funny Bone, where they sat us close enough to the stage where the comics would be able to see us but far enough away where maybe we wouldn't be too noticeable.
Except for the fact that Q was with us. And we were in a comedy club, watching and listening to people whose sole purpose was to make us laugh. And there was a two drink minimum.
By the time headliner Bagg took the stage, Q's laugh had already filled the club multiple times. The openers gave him the occasional look, but mostly took his reactions as a compliment. And Bagg is a pretty funny guy - he's no Patton Oswalt, but the guy has toured extensively and has a solid act. But my goodness, did Q find Bagg funny.
Several times during the set, Q's guffaws bellowed throughout the Funny Bone, loud enough to make the waitresses stop in their tracks and every customer practically choke themselves with their own laughter. Every time, the comedian himself chuckled, stopped his act, and checked to make sure that Quentin was okay. The rest of us at Q's table were in tears we were laughing so hard, too entertained and gleeful to be the least bit humiliated. It was a fantastic, unforgettable night, one I still look back at with nothing but great joy.
Q lived an incredible life and will rightfully be remembered for his leadership, his ability to inspire, and for the potential that has been taken away. And while I reflect on all this, I am just so thankful for that evening at the Funny Bone, for Ian Bagg's act that Q found so funny, and for the laugh that will always remind me of my good friend.
Jackie Connolly Paton
I met Q and Carissa during the rehearsal for Theresa and Glenn’s wedding as one of their bridesmaids. Immediately his shining aura and positive energy illuminated the whole weekend. His smile and laugh were contagious. He and Carissa are such genuine souls that when they talked to you, you felt that they really listened and wanted to get to know you. I followed both for years on social media and was always so glad to see vacations, celebrations and achievements. Knowing that one of the good guys was elected to makes changes at the local level gave me hope on darker days. My love to Carissa and his family.
Rachel L. Koch (again)
I was thinking back on the first time I met Q. After hearing about him so much, our first Halloween in NH, 2015, I remember walking in Fat Belly’s having never met him and we both walked towards one another and hugged so big because I’m positive at that point Carrissa had shared so much to both of us about the other that I felt like I knew him already. Instantly, I felt like I’d known him forever. And that feeling stuck with me for as long as I knew Q. Down to the last time I saw him at Erica’s wedding. My memory of that day was walking down the aisle and the first face I recognized was his - sticking his tongue out at me and smiling so big. He had a way of making people feel so loved and seen. The whole night we all danced together on the dance floor and it felt like no time had past, even though it had been years since I’d seen Carrissa and Q. I still and always will consider Carrissa one of my most cherished friends as we experienced so much together during the first 2 years of our friendship and even with years apart - we can so easily pick up where we left off. So many memories of the 6 of us - me and Mike, Erica and Josh, and Carrissa and Q. #RideorCryForever
Anytime I would see Q out and about in Middletown, he would stop to chat. We didn’t know each other well, but seeing him always seemed like running into an old friend.
Andrea (Wilson) McCoy
I worked at Oddfellows in the early 2000’s and became a part of what I affectionately called “The Bobbye Posse” at the time. Of course, that meant I also inherited ties to the other wonderful humans Bobbye had collected along the way and Q was one of the greats. I moved to Boston in 2008 and Q and I fell out of touch and rarely saw one another in the intervening years. Despite that, though, I will always remember how open and genuine he was. The two stories that I remember most fondly are when I convinced him to join me and some friends at Illusions, a country line dancing bar in Wolcott, CT. The place was exactly what you are picturing and we all stuck out like sore thumbs. Despite that, we could not have had a better time and Q’s willingness to try and do and experience new things was a huge part of why. Q also came to visit me in Boston one after I moved. Somehow, I convinced him to try sushi for the first time. I suggested he try a California roll (because - first timer) and some sort of cream cheese situation. He hated the cream cheese one so much! He never let me live that down.
Tracey Elise Hardman
Like everyone, I have so many inspirational memories of Q- because every visit or talk with Q inevitably ended up being inspirational. He always made you not just WANT to be a better person; Q made you believe you already were a better person full of the possibility of making the world better too. Just by being around him.
I have one very specific memory of Q which means so much to me. He had asked me out to lunch to discuss some aspects of the Democratic party and it turned out during that lunch that he wanted to see if I possibly might be interested in some lower level political office.
While I absolutely was not interested in office myself, I told him I would support him and all of his causes in every way. Then we just got to having a really really nice lunch and chatting. He then told me of his background and his incredible single Mother, Queen. The love and admiration in his eyes when he spoke of her made tears spring to my eyes in that restaurant that day.
I will never forget, as we talked of more of our backgrounds and where we went to college, I told him I had played rugby in undergrad. And at first I thought he played rugby too, so I said to him – you played rugby too?
He laughed and said, ‘Heck no! Have you SEEN this face? I would not do anything to risk any damage to this work of nature (as he framed his wonderful face with his hands.)
Yes, Q- you were as handsome as you were extraordinary and I’m glad no Rugby games never changed that my dapper friend.
And then he told me of Carissa. Just when you thought his face couldn’t get brighter nor his smile bigger, he talked of Carissa. And, all bets were off.
He told me of how they had been talking with their hearts in their souls before they finally met over either a layover or an airport or some sort of a travel situation. He said the second that he saw her, he knew. But he actually said he already knew. What a gift you gave him Carissa to have loved him so and to have let know such incredible profound true love in his devastatingly too short time with us all on this Earth.
he was funny, a great guy, and once gave me chips when i was hungry
I met Q through Erika. He was always so kind and had an incredible gift of seeing problems from all sides. Intelligent, funny, and kind...❤️