Thomas “Willie” Eugene Vining, 71, of Gaston, South Carolina passed in the comfort of his own home surrounded by his family on June 2, 2023. Willie was born April 19, 1952, to the late Thomas William “Tinkie” and Martha Mattox Vining. He grew up in Forest Acres and graduated from AC Flora High School. He met the love of his life, Ingar Dreher, at the local skating ring and married her when they both were 18 years old.
He worked for over 20 years at the SC State Department of General Services. After retiring, he worked on small engine repair and began creating metal crafts. He took his creations on the road attending local craft fairs and could often be heard ringing a bell for a sale! Many of his crafts can be found in the beloved garden behind the family home.
Willie also had a passion for classic cars and was a member of the Sandlapper Car Club for over 15 years he also held the current title of President. He would be seen every year at the Gaston Christmas parade driving the Mayor in his white 1956 convertible T-bird.
There was nothing he enjoyed more than going to Pop’s Place near Stumphole landing in Santee. He enjoyed fishing and would often host a fish fry. As great as the fishing was the other joy was just pontooning and watching the fireworks from the lake every 4th of July.
Whether you knew him by PeePaw, T-bone, Batman, Butterfly Man, Lawnmower Man or just Willie T., you would always be greeted with a smile and an animated story of one of his many adventures. He had an appreciation for gospel music, old westerns and country songs…as one of his favorite choruses says in the end “God is great, beer is good and people are crazy!”
Willie is survived by his wife Ingar of 52 years; daughters and sons-in-law, Natasha and Chris Williams, Trixy Vining and Richard Rossbach; grandchildren, Savannah and Cameron Roy, Corporal Alex Williams and Christian Sizemore;great-grandchild, Sophia Sizemore; and his brother and sister-in-law, Herman and Becky Vining. Willie was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend to everyone.
A celebration of his life will be held on 2:00 pm, Sunday, June 4, 2023 at Bethel Bible Church, 112 Jules Rd, Lexington SC 29073. Visitation will be held from 1:00 pm until 2:00 pm prior to the service. Willie will be laid to rest at the Bethel Bible Church Cemetery. There will be dinner on the grounds at 3:00pm (Fellowship Hall).
Memorial donations may be made to Bethel Bible Church.
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