May 17, 1995 – June 26, 2020
Melissa, 25, a lighting designer with TLS Productions in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and her life-partner Coleen Huling, 29, were on an afternoon bike ride in London Township in Monroe County on June 26, when a driver swerved and killed the two women. On June 27, Michigan State Police reported that a 21-year-old male was apprehended as a suspect in the crime and will be facing charges.
Melissa was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Riverside High School in Painesville Township, Ohio where she was active with the marching band and theatre arts. In 2016 she earned her bachelor’s degree in lighting design and theatre arts from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi-Delta Upsilon, marching band and theatre. After graduation, she joined TLS Productions in Ann Arbor and was working in her field of lighting design.
“Melissa was a truly good person who made everyone around her better just by being her,” says TLS Productions, Inc. CEO Brad Hayes. “She was a rising star in her chosen profession, a true friend to many of us at TLSP. Her loss is and will continue to be felt deeply. Her untimely death while doing something she loved with someone she loved is heart wrenching.” In the company newsletter, she was remembered as “one of the greatest coworkers any of us at TLSP will ever have the pleasure of working with. And more importantly—an incredible human being.”
Ruben “Brandon” Cruz from Las Vegas, wrote in her online guestbook that “Melissa was the coolest and a great co-worker—she was a package wrapped up in awesomeness…She was always happy when I saw her in any city, when I traveled with her company TLS! You’re gonna be missed out here in Las Vegas.”
Melissa was a huge fan of the Cleveland Indians, had a love for animals and the outdoors, Disney musicals and Cedar Point. She immersed herself in Marvel comics even dressing up as Captain America for Halloween. Her love for outdoors was intense ever since she was a little girl. Her family had to beg her to come in no matter how cold or how long she was out there. She loved camping, cycling, kayaking and a lot of outdoor adventures with her family. She and her dad often took long bike rides throughout the countryside. She was always the happiest when she could be doing activities outdoors. (Photo credit right: Josie Eli Herman)
She met her soulmate Coleen Huling who shared her love of camping, fishing, hiking, biking, kayaking and Cedar Point and they formed a bond that will never be broken. They enjoyed life together and their families are consoled that in death they will always be together.
Survivors include her parents, Roy M. and Kerri Lynn (Maynard) Williamson, her twin sister Michaella Lynn of Ypsilanti, a brother Josh, a sister Renee, paternal grandmother Barbara Lynn Williamson, maternal grandparents Dale and Ellen Maynard all of Ohio, along with many aunts, uncles, cousins and a multitude of friends.
A GoFundMe was set up by Melissa’s cousin Kennedy Haight, who wrote, “These incredible women were taken from this earth far too soon and they will be missed by so many. My goal is to ease the financial burden on Melissa’s family. Many of us know the costs that go into a service, and I feel that the Williamson’s should not have to worry about finances during this impossible time.” The GoFundMe campaigns raised over $30,000 for funeral costs. Her services were held July 1 in Michigan and July 3 in Ohio. To share a memory or send condolences, visit her online guest book is at: https://www.starkfuneral.com/guestbook/melissa-williamson
This story originally appeared in the Sept./Oct. issue of Exhibit City News, p. 47. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_sept-oct_2020