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COLUMBIA - Thelma Rast, 96, of Columbia, SC, went to her eternal home June 24, 2021. Born March 9, 1925, in Swansea, SC, she was a daughter of Charles Lewis and Marie Jackson Rast. She was predeceased by her parents; a brother, Dr. Charles L. Rast Jr. (Rosalyn L. "Sis") of Columbia; and a sister, Peggy Sanders (James C.) of Beaufort, SC.
Thelma was educated in the Swansea public schools and received a Bachelor of Music degree from Columbia College. She continued her education by receiving master's degrees from Peabody and Northwestern. She also studied for a year as a special student at Juilliard School of Music.
Music was of great importance to her and she devoted 47 years of teaching in the field at Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, NC, as a professor of music and was awarded the Raymond M. Bost Distinguished Professor for Excellence in Teaching, Roediger Distinguished Professor, and the Servant of Christ Award, and was a Professor Emeritus. She touched many lives through the years at Lenoir-Rhyne and many of them were her students with whom she stayed in contact up until her passing.
Thelma was dedicated to growing and walking in her faith in Jesus Christ and she shared it with all whom she came in contact. She had a passion for helping and doing for others. She was a member of First United Church in Hickory, and Swansea United Methodist Church in Swansea. At both of these churches, she served in many activities and capacities.
In the community, Thelma served in the Hickory Music Club, Afternoon Music Club, Eau Claire Music Club, Morning Music Club and the Columbia College Alumnae, Arial Chapter.
She is survived by many nieces and nephews who loved and cherished her for the caring and compassionate part she played in their lives. She will be greatly missed, but the imprint she left on their hearts will live forever.
A special thank you to the Laurel Crest Retirement Community and Laurel Crest Health Center, especially Cessandra Carter and the Lighthouse Hospice.
A graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, August 28, 2021 in Melrose Cemetery in Swansea. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, Columbia, is assisting the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Swansea United Methodist Church or to Lenoir-Rhyne University School of Music.
Memories may be shared at www.dunbarfunerals.com.