"He didn't ask when I was leaving and didn't invite me to come back. It was like an audience with an important man, a job interview, but not a reunion with a father," she said in the book released January 2005.
It was the first of many visits between Washington-Williams and her father.
He supported her, paying for her to attend then-South Carolina State College at the same time Thurmond was governor. He also helped her later after she was widowed in the 1960s.
"It's not that Strom Thurmond ever swore me to secrecy. He never swore me to anything," she wrote. "He trusted me, and I respected him, and we loved each other in our deeply repressed ways, and that was our social contract."
Washington-Williams watched from afar as Thurmond ran for president as a segregationist for the Dixiecrat Party in 1948, saying "all the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the army cannot force the Negro race into our theaters, our swimming pools, our schools, our churches, our homes."
Washington-Williams recalled once asking her father about race.
Thurmond defended his beliefs as part of the "culture and custom of the South," she wrote.
"I certainly never did like the idea that he was a segregationist, but there was nothing I could do about it," Washington-Williams said in 2003. "That was his life."
Thurmond later softened his political stance and renounced racism. But he never publicly acknowledged his oldest daughter or the active role he played in her life. Thurmond and his first wife, Jean, were married in 1947; she died in 1960. They had no children. He had four children with his second wife, the former Nancy Moore, whom he married in 1968.
Washington-Williams was left unsettled by her father's death. At her daughter's encouragement she decided to make her story public.
"In a way, my life began at 78, at least my life as who I really was," Washington-Williams wrote. "I may have called it `closure,' but it was much more like an opening, a very grand opening."A statue of Thurmond on the Statehouse lawn was originally cast saying he had four children. Thurmond's family agreed to have Washington-Williams' name added.