A simple family vacation turned tragic last week when a Fort Mill school district employee was one of two drowning victims off the coast at Sunset Beach, N.C.
Maryanne Galway, 55, of Waxhaw, N.C., an attendance clerk at Orchard Park Elementary School in Fort Mill, drowned Wednesday after she and her husband of 33 years, Ed, were struggling in the water, officials said.
Authorities said Mitchell McLean, 54, died while trying to help the Galways. McLean was the chief District Court judge for Wilkes, Ashe, Alleghany and Yadkin counties in North Carolina.
Officials said rip currents were to blame in the deaths.
Ed Galway was treated at a hospital and released.
In a statement Monday, Orchard Park Elementary Principal Linda Locklier said Galway had worked for the Fort Mill school district for 17 years. She served as an instructional assistant for special education and a secretary before becoming the attendance clerk at Orchard Park, a school she helped open in 2001.
“She was a kind and compassionate person who always considered the impact of decisions on the children in every situation,” Locklier said.
Rhonda Snincak worked with Galway for 12 years at Orchard Park. Snincak described her as nice, caring, gentle and a good listener.
“She was the one that a lot of people would go and tell everything to,” Snincak said. “She was always just a really good person to talk to about anything that was going on.”
Galway will be buried Tuesday in her home state of New Jersey.
Four people drowned last week in Brunswick County, N.C., home of Sunset Beach. Dangerous rip currents are being blamed for all four deaths.
The Associated Press contributed
Rachel Southmayd • 803-329-4072