“The good die young.” The words have been immortalized by writers and singers in different ways. In Orangeburg today, they speak to sadness in the loss of two “good” people at far too young an age.
In more than 30 years in the practice of obstetrics and gynecology in Orangeburg, Dr. Rick Williamson brought many of the people in The T&D Region into the world, leaving proud mothers and fathers forever thankful. His death in August 2013 shocked the community. Rick Williamson was 59.
This week, there was a renewed sense of loss when Williamson’s widow, Tara, died. She was 58.
So many knew Dr. Williamson. And so many knew Tara Scarlett Ruple Williamson, who served the community in her own right.
She had a passion for youth and education, working in schools and academic institutions throughout her career. The passion extended into civic and church life as she was a longtime member of St. Andrews United Methodist Church and was also on the board of trustees. She was a Meals on Wheels volunteer for many years, an active member of the Friends of the Library Board and a sustaining member of the Junior Service League of Orangeburg. She smocked preemie baby gowns as a member of the Garden City Stitchers, served on the City of Orangeburg Election Commission and was a volunteer for scouting in both Pack 90 and Troop 45, as well as the Indian Waters Council.
Her obituary in The Times and Democrat noted she often was described as one of “the nicest people I’ve ever met.” Many know that could be said also of her late husband, so much so that the Williamsons became the first couple to be honored by the Orangeburg County Community of Character campaign. In 2003, they were selected as the embodiment of the character trait “sincerity.”
Those nominating the Williamsons for the honor and those selecting them said one could not be recognized without the other. “Dr. and Mrs. Williamson are well known and greatly respected in the Orangeburg area. They are described as a couple that cares about others,” according to an article in The T&D in 2003.
Of Dr. Williamson it was written further: “There have been many testimonies concerning Dr. Williamson's wonderful bedside manner. From his patients to co-workers and friends, he is lauded as an individual who is dedicated to helping others.”
And of Tara Williamson in her role as a business and computer technology group teacher at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College: "She possesses a sweet nature and genuinely cares about her students. Tara strives to help students learn and identifies with them because she is also taking classes to advance her knowledge of computers. She also enjoys bringing homemade goodies to share with office staff. Genuine, honest, natural — all the words that describe sincerity, describe Tara Williamson."
Her obituary stated that “Tara's family finds comfort in the thought of Rick and Tara's heavenly reunion.” As much as the deaths of two good people at too young an age are a loss for Orangeburg, we join Tara’s family in finding comfort in the same.