Walker Rast

On October 4, 2022, Walker Rast, beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother passed away at home at the age of 87. Born to the late Mendel Bull Rast and Sue Herring Rast, Walker lived in Cameron, South Carolina until the family moved to Dillon, South Carolina when he was 10 years old. Walker was a graduate of the University of South Carolina College of Engineering, having received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2000 and the Seton Hall School of Law.
Walker is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Ruth Schwartz Rast, two daughters, Martha Rast Michaud (Paul) and Edie Rast Jensen (Roger), a sister Meta Rast Smith (Cary), his father-in law, Will Schwartz, brother-in-law, Marc Schwartz (Susan) and sister-in-law, Laurie Moser (Adam), three grandchildren, Walker Michaud (Erica), Rachel Wisnefski and Andrew Jensen, seven great grandchildren, five nieces and nephews and a dog dad to Kane and Rocket.
Following his graduation from University of South Carolina, Walker followed his adventurous spirit and moved to New Jersey to begin his career at the United States Gypsum Company where he simultaneously attended graduate school. He resided in several other locations around the country including Oakmont, PA, Chicago, Buffalo, Los Altos, CA, New York City, Darien, Connecticut, Hilton Head Island and Columbia.
Walker retired as a member of the four-person Executive Board of the Royal Package Industries Van Leer a world-wide packaging company. His primary operating responsibilities included being the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Keyes Fibre Company, now known as the Chinet Company, which operated in 23 countries. He was also the chairman of Van Leer Containers of North America (manufacturers of steel drums and pails), Chairman of Van Leer Holdings in Australia and the United Kingdom (manufacturers of moulded pulp products, steel drums and plastics). Prior to his work with Van Leer, he held senior positions at Arcata Corporation headquarter in Menlo Park, California and the United States Gypsum Company headquartered in Chicago.
Upon retirement, Walker founded a company, ZDD, Inc., in conjunction with the University of South Carolina, which developed a system to enable zero liquid discharge in the desalination process addressing fresh water scarcity issues. ZDD development partners included Sandia National Laboratory, Dow Chemical Company and Veolia Water. Walker formerly was a member of the Board of Directors of Cox Industries (Orangeburg, SC) and the University of South Carolina Educational Foundation Board of Directors.
Walker’s hobbies included boating having made the trip on the intercoastal waterway between South Carolina and Connecticut numerous times and as member of the Hatteras 1610 Club. He was an avid traveler for business and pleasure, meeting many heads of state and dignitaries along the way. Among his favorite trips was a two-month sailing adventure on a private yacht in the south Pacific starting in the Cook Islands and ending in Fiji. He was an extensive wine collector mostly from the Burgundy region of France and was a member of the Chevaliers du Tastevin (Fairfield County, CT) and a O Gauge Model Railroad enthusiast with an extensive layout in his Columbia home.
Until his passing, he was a member of the Union League Club of New York and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Columbia.
The Funeral Service was held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (Bull Street) on Sunday, October 9 at 2 p.m. The family will receive friends prior to the service at beginning at 1:00. A private burial was held at Six Oaks Cemetery in Hilton Head Island. Shives Funeral Home, Trenholm Road Chapel, is assisting the family.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, the Ruth and Walker Rast Endowed Mechanical Engineering Scholarship Fund at USC or the charity of one’s choice.
Memories and condolences may be shared at ShivesFuneralHome.com

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