ORANGEBURG, S.C. (T&D) - A missing Santee woman’s family says she’s the person discovered by bridge maintenance workers on Friday.
Tina Marie Williamson, a 55-year-old mother of three, was last seen on Nov. 17 on the porch at the Mountaineer Motel and Campground on Five Chop Road.
Her body was found around 10 a.m. Friday, about a mile west of U.S. Highway 176 on Five Chop Road.
Meghan Jones said Saturday that her aunt, “was the sweetest soul to ever walk this earth.”
“Over the years growing up, I showed horses and my most favorite memory is her driving up to Michigan from South Carolina just to be here with and support my siblings and I. She would be right there with our mom screaming from the stands as we raced around the arena with the biggest smile on her face, so proud and full of encouragement,” Jones said.
“She was always there, the distance never stopped her. Her being from the city and us living this new country life, she just embraced it. Whether it be us needing help washing the horses, shoveling out the stalls at fair time, or having my brother at 6 years old talk her into sneaking the tractor out of the barn and going for a ride, hoping for the best. She had no idea how to even drive,” she said.
“She was just the best. Full of adventure and love. She was smart and artistic,” she said. “She always was the first one to help us decorate our horse stalls during fair week. Had the best ideas, and the prettiest handwriting you’ve ever seen.”
She loved to laugh and had a contagious smile, Jones said.
“Our family has literally been living everyone’s worst nightmare,” she said.
Theresa Classen Tucker said Williamson was one of her four sisters.
“There were six of us, five girls and one boy. I was the baby,” she said.
“Tina was the one who momma’d us, so to speak. She taught me to write. She taught me to tie my shoes. She was always loving and caring to us. She would take us everywhere with her and never complain,” she said.
“When I had my two daughters, she loved them and spoiled them like crazy. My daughters went with her and stayed with her as much as they were with me. She was the fun, silly aunt that my daughters adored. Then came my grands and they too always said, ‘Let’s go see Aunt Tina.’ Every kid loved her. Everyone that met her loved her. She was just a kind, loving soul,” she said.
“I will never be able to put into words Tina’s kind heart or free spirit. If half of the world was as sweet and kind as she was, the world would be a better place. I don’t want the world to remember her as the lady that recently had troubles and is missing or as the body they found on Highway 301, you know. I want the world to know she loved the color red! She loved to color. She was always pretty. She kept herself clean and neat all the time. Makeup, hair done, nails painted. The girly one of us six,” Tucker said.
Tucker said Williamson is the mother of three children: Jay, Krysten and Brandon. She’s also the grandmother of four: Carter, Lily, Ellie and Emma.
“They called her ‘MeMaw,’” Tucker said.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
The Orangeburg County Coroner’s Office will determine Williamson’s manner and cause of death after an autopsy is completed.