Friends and colleagues of the late Rep. Quentin “Q” Williams gathered with his family Wednesday for a ceremony of remembrance as a procession including a hearse carrying his body paused by the state Capitol where he served three terms.
Williams, a 39-year-old Democrat from Middletown, died suddenly last week when his vehicle was struck by a wrong-way driver on Route 9 in Cromwell. He had just been sworn in for another term and was traveling home from Gov. Ned Lamont’s inaugural ball in Hartford.
Hundreds of mourners gathered in the midday cold to observe three minutes of silence accompanied by three tolls of a bell, each representing one of his terms of service. The short ceremony capped a motorcade-escorted procession from Williams’ home in Middletown to Hartford.
Pastor AJ Johnson, deputy chaplain of the General Assembly, remembered Williams as an “amazingly talented,” likable and stylish young man.
“Let his memory fill us with the passion to pursue justice, let his legacy inspire us to create a more equitable future and let his work carry on through our hands,” Johnson said.
During the ceremony, Williams’ colleagues presented his wife Carrissa Williams and mother Queen Williams with his legislative nameplates. State Capitol police officers kneeled and gave them folded flags.
Williams’ family and close friends are expected to hold a private service on Saturday. The procession served as a public memorial for the well-liked representative. It was attended by members of the state legislature from both parties as well as constitutional officers including Gov. Ned Lamont.
Earlier in the day, Lamont told reporters that Williams had inspired an outpouring of love.
“It’s his infectious smile, it’s what he believed in, his love of education,” Lamont said. “Look what it means for the people in this building here at the Capitol.”
Before his family departed and the hearse carrying his body rolled out of the state Capitol complex, Johnson encouraged attendees to let Williams’ life be an inspiration.
“Let’s not forget the beautiful person that God gave us. Let’s not take our own lives for granted. We don’t know the time, the hour, the minute or the day,” Johnson said. “So I challenge each and every one of you to live on purpose.”